Defense defined a rainy day as Maryland football loses to Wisconsin 23-10

Even with the extra bye week, Maryland came out flat-footed and outmatched as Wisconsin pulled away with a convincing 23-10 win in Madison.

With Taulia Tagovailoa back under center, Maryland’s offense was undoubtedly less efficient than it was against Northwestern after the offense totaled just 189 yards of offense and 77 yards passing. While Taulia still became the program’s new leader in career passing yards, it’s the first time since November 2019 that Maryland both failed to record 200 yards of total offense and 100 passing yards, a puzzling statistic for an offense oozing veteran firepower even considering the wet conditions.

“We had wind. We had rain. We practiced and had a wet ball day on Monday, which, you know, we’ve studied the weather all week long and, it’s not like it was a surprise to us, but we did not handle it as well as we thought we should,” Locksley said postgame. The weather was projected to be a factor all day between Maryland and Wisconsin on Saturday, but the Terps struggled through the air as Taulia finished with a career-low 42% completion percentage in the loss. “I left a lot of plays on the field today,” Taulia added following the loss. Drops were an issue throughout the day after wide receiver Rakim Jarrett had a handful of targets slip through his hands, while Jacob Copeland had a tough but catchable pass go through his hands on a 4th-and-2 deep in Maryland territory. “You’re in the Big Ten. You’re gonna have rain, you’re gonna have wetness, you’re have wind and that’s what we’ve tried to build this team for, to manage it and we didn’t do a great job of it today,” Locksley added.

Even with several key contributors back, Maryland was without Mason Lunsford (concussion protocol) and Fa’Najae Gotay (hamstring) on Saturday while wide receiver Rakim Jarrett went down with what Locksley said was a lower leg injury. “I haven’t been able to have a chance to talk to our medical people just yet,” he added. Still, Maryland’s defense allowed over 200 yards on the ground for the second consecutive game and third time this season as a pair of Badgers running backs finished with 100-plus yards on the ground while the unit averaged six yards per carry. “As I told the team, the best laid plans don’t always work out the way you expect or want them to and that’s what happened today,” Locksley added.

The game opened with five combined three-and-outs before the first big play came from wide receiver Skyler Bell on a jet sweep for 36 yards. The Badgers would find the endzone on a 12-play drive, while running back Isaac Guerendo broke loose for an 89-yard run to extend the lead to 14-0. Wisconsin was able to extend the lead before halftime after Locksley inexplicably called a timeout despite the Badgers facing an imminent delay of game, giving them a chance to push through a 38-yard field goal to make it a 17-0 affair.

Maryland would head to the locker room with just 56 yards of offense, but nearly doubled their output on the first drive of the second half after a trio of first downs set Chad Ryland up for a 39-yard field goal and the first points for Maryland on the day. But the Badgers’ pressure halted Maryland’s momentum as the offensive line allowed a season-high five sacks, hindering the efficiency in both phases of Maryland’s offense.  “Our backs in protection weren’t firm enough.

A lot of the times when there was a guy that came free, our backs today struggled and staying in front of the guy. But again, it’s takes everybody and not singling out the backs but a lot of the pressure we got came from the linebacker pressures that usually we do a really good job of protecting our quarterback.”

Maryland was able to hold Wisconsin to just six points and 108 yards of total offense in the second half, but again, the offense couldn’t sustain momentum despite averaging over four yards per carry in the second half. “I feel like I got myself in trouble looking at the rush and stuff like that,” Taulia added. “I feel like the pocket was good for me most of the time and, like I said, just make plays and find receivers down the field and stuff like that regardless of the pressure or the circumstances.”

Maryland will look to put the loss in the rear-view mirror quickly with another road game coming up, this time against 15th-ranked Penn State next Saturday. “Because of how connected we are, I feel really confident that we’ll get back to the drawing board. Just like we talk about when something happens, we gotta flush it and get to the next play where we gotta flush this, make the necessary corrections and get to the next game,” Locksley added.

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Instant Reactions: Wisconsin 23, Maryland 10