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Maryland Football Triumphs Over Charlotte 38-20, But Challenges Loom Ahead

Maryland faces a short turnaround, as they prepare to host former ACC rival Virginia in College Park next Friday night. The Terps will be looking to raise their performance to meet their own high standards in the upcoming matchup.

In a matchup that saw the Maryland Terrapins facing off against the Charlotte 49ers this past Saturday night, the Terps managed to secure a 38-20 victory, although the win was not without its challenges. Starters found themselves pressed into service until the final moments of the game, shedding light on the gritty nature of the contest.

Maryland had a rocky start, conceding 14 quick points to the 49ers and struggling to find their offensive rhythm early on. The first half was particularly challenging, marked by penalties that thwarted promising drives and forced them to settle for field goals. Head coach Mike Locksley acknowledged the issues that plagued his team, pointing to subpar decision-making, interceptions, and turnovers as areas in need of rapid improvement.

The offensive struggles were especially evident, with the Terps failing to reach the end zone in the opening half. Penalty calls took a toll, stalling their momentum and preventing them from capitalizing on scoring opportunities. Locksley benched Antwain Littleton II after a costly penalty that pushed the offense back, opening the door for Colby McDonald, who made the most of his limited snaps late in the game, rushing for 73 yards on eight carries.

On the defensive side, there was more rotation, which is typical for managing player fatigue and deploying different packages. Transfer Donnell Brown's role expanded significantly from 16 snaps in the Towson game to 30 against Charlotte, during which he secured an interception. True freshman safety Alex Moore continued to impress with his 19 snaps, including a crucial play where he prevented a touchdown, leading to Brown's interception.

A closer look at the snap counts reveals the extent to which starters were pushed:

Maryland Offensive Snap Counts:

  • Conor Fagan - 74

  • Delmar Glaze - 71

  • Corey Bullock - 71

  • Taulia Tagovailoa - 68

  • Amelio Moran - 63

  • Tai Felton - 60

  • Roman Hemby - 59

  • Jeshaun Jones - 53

  • Kaden Prather - 46

  • Corey Dyches - 45

  • Aric Harris - 44

  • Octavian Smith Jr. - 31

  • Mike Purcell - 30

  • Preston Howard - 25

  • Rico Walker - 19

  • Kyle Long - 14

  • Colby McDonald - 9

  • Antwain Littleton II - 6

  • Billy Edwards Jr. - 6

  • AJ Szymanski - 4

  • Sean Greeley - 4

  • Dylan Wade - 3

  • Shaleak Knotts - 3

  • Leon Haughton Jr. - 3

  • Marcus Dumervil - 3

Maryland Defensive Snap Counts:

  • Beau Brade - 44

  • Dante Trader Jr. - 41

  • Kellan Wyatt - 38

  • Tarheeb Still - 37

  • Donnell Brown - 30

  • Corey Coley Jr. - 26

  • Tommy Akingbesote - 26

  • Ja'Quan Sheppard - 26

  • Jordan Phillips - 25

  • Jaishawn Barham - 23

  • Riyad Wilmot - 23

  • Quashon Fuller - 22

  • Fa'Najae Gotay - 21

  • Alex Moore - 19

  • Tre Colbert - 19

  • Taizse Johnson - 17

  • Isaac Bunyon - 17

  • Caleb Wheatland - 16

  • Kobi Thomas - 15

  • Lavon Johnson - 14

  • Ruben Hyppolite II - 14

  • Dillan Fontus - 13

  • Lionell Whitaker - 12

  • Gereme Spraggins - 12

  • Daniel Wingate - 11

  • Christian Teague - 11

  • Sean Greeley - 10

  • Rex Fleming - 10

  • Chantz Harley - 8

  • Michael Harris - 7

  • Daniel Owens - 7

  • Glendon Miller - 6

  • Kevis Thomas - 5

  • Perry Fisher - 2

Despite the challenges faced by Maryland, Coach Locksley expressed his dissatisfaction with the team's performance, highlighting the failure to meet their own standards of starting strong and finishing with conviction. The early adversity, however, revealed the team's resilience, and Locksley believes they have the potential to correct their mistakes and reach their desired level of play.

The game had a turbulent beginning for the Terps, with Charlotte's run-heavy offense quickly finding success and a busted coverage leading to a 48-yard touchdown. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland's quarterback, struggled initially, throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown just 10 seconds after the first score, putting Charlotte ahead 14-0 within the first 3 minutes and 10 seconds.

Maryland's defense managed to regroup, forcing a Charlotte punt on the next drive, but the offense continued to sputter. Coach Locksley made efforts to rally his team, delivering motivational talks between drives to reinvigorate their spirits.

The turning point came late in the first quarter when Maryland finally managed to move the chains with a 17-yard completion. This drive paved the way for a Terps touchdown, covering 72 yards in 11 plays, and provided a foundation for a comeback.

Two penalties later in the second quarter, including one in the red zone and another for offensive pass interference, forced Maryland to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns, leaving them trailing 14-9 at halftime.

Maryland came out strong in the second half, embarking on a nine-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown by Billy Edwards. This marked a shift in momentum, but Tagovailoa struggled to maintain his form, resulting in an interception in the end zone that negated another promising drive.

Fortunately for the Terps, their defense stepped up, forcing multiple punts and generating turnovers. Three consecutive touchdown drives followed, with Hemby and McDonald contributing on the ground, and Prather catching a touchdown pass in between. Brown's interception and a fumble recovery by the defense sealed the deal, with Maryland scoring 38 unanswered points.

While the game ended on a somewhat sour note with the 49ers managing to put together a late touchdown drive, Coach Locksley emphasized the importance of finishing strong and addressing issues quickly.

Maryland faces a short turnaround, as they prepare to host former ACC rival Virginia in College Park next Friday night. The Terps will be looking to raise their performance to meet their own high standards in the upcoming matchup.

Mike Clark

September 10, 2023 at 12:00:00 AM

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