Instant Reactions: Wisconsin 23, Maryland 10

The bye week gave Maryland several key contributors back, but it wasn’t enough as the Terps were controlled for sixty minutes in Madison. Maryland falls to 6-3 (3-3) with another road game coming up.

Offense Falls Flat

Neither team started out on the right foot after trading punts, but the Badgers’ rushing attack sparked the offense as they found the endzone first. Maryland’s response? Zilch. The Terps squandered what looked to be a promising start to the drive after a short punt gave the Terps the ball at the Wisconsin 41, but the drive ended just four plays later after Taulia was sacked on 4th-and-8. Maryland also allowed a pair of sacks on third downs through the first half, heading to the locker room just 1-of-8 on third downs, while the offense didn’t pick up its first first-down until the 13 minute mark of the second quarter. Taulia wound up attempting just six passes in the first half as the Badgers’ front seven controlled the trenches, leading to a struggle on the ground as the Terps averaged just 1.5 yards per carry through the first 30 minutes.

Maryland was able to pick up the tempo to start the second half, picking up a trio of first downs thanks to big chunks on the ground from Taulia and Hemby, before the offense settled for a 39-yard field goal for its first points of the game. The bad news was it’d prove to be the only successful drive with the game still in reach. Maryland would total just two yards of offense on its next two drives before Taulia’s poor read led to an interception and set the Badgers up deep in Maryland territory.

Through the air, the Terps saw what many never expected—no success. Maryland had just 30 yards through the air with ten minutes remaining and finished with 77 yards, marking the first time that Maryland failed to record at least 100 yards through the air since November 23, 2019 when the Terps threw for 57 yards against Nebraska. While Taulia struggled to get rid of the football and break down the Badgers’ secondary from beginning to end, Maryland’s receivers also struggled mightily as drops have become persistent. Jarrett had three costly drops against the Badgers while Jacob Copeland had a ball go through his hands on 4th-and-2. Maryland was able to find the endzone in the final minute after Taulia found Tai Felton, but it’s a concerning level of execution for a Maryland team fresh off a bye, even when you consider the Badgers are also coming off the bye. The offense will need to iron out the kinks quickly before taking on a stingy Penn State defense next week.

Wisconsin Controls Maryland In the Trenches 

Maryland’s loss felt much bigger than a 13-point defeat and a big reason for that was the play in the trenches. After allowing a season-high four sacks against Northwestern, Maryland performed worse against the Badgers and set a new high with five sacks allowed. Linebacker Nick Herbig was a big reason why as the elite defender finished with three sacks and a pair of sacks, helping the Badgers amass seven tackles for loss. And while Maryland was only called for five penalties in the loss, a pair of them were attributed to the offensive line. The unit did have a bit of a shakeup with Mason Lunsford not traveling to the team, allowing Coltin Deery to draw his second career start and shifting Spencer Anderson and Johari Branch as the two guards.

The front seven, meanwhile, was able to get key contributors back with Ruben Hyppolite looking explosive early and Jaishawn Barham available once again but it didn’t appear to make much of a difference. Greg China-Rose led the way with a pair of sacks while Tommy Akingbesote logged his second sack of the season in the third quarter, but Wisconsin was consistently able to control the line of scrimmage to create the running lanes for Allen seemingly all day. Which brings us to…

Maryland’s Defense Has No Answer for Badgers Backs

After the two teams combined for five three-and-outs, it would be Wisconsin who would find the endzone first after leaning on the ground game. A jet sweep to freshman receiver Skyler Bell pushed the Badgers into Maryland territory before running back Braelon Allen reminded folks why he’s among the Big Ten’s best running backs, shedding arm tackles and leaning on his vision to carve up Maryland’s front seven.

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz tested the Terps’ secondary on a handful of deep one-on-one balls, but for the most part, the damage came on the ground as 211 of Wisconsin’s’ 247 first-half yards came on the ground. Maryland’s third-quarter defense held Wisconsin to just 1.4 yards per carry, but Allen would remind the Terps’ front seven what makes him special after bouncing outside with ease in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. The jet sweeps also resurfaced for Bell with the Badgers’ receivers blocking well downfield.

Still, Maryland’s defense has now allowed 200-plus rushing yards for the second consecutive week and third time this season. For a defense that will prepare next to stop freshmen duo Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton, the Terps’ front seven struggled to find a push against the Badgers’ offensive line as the running lanes were open all day. Wisconsin leaned on the ground game to close out Saturday’s puzzling loss.


  • Wide receiver Rakim Jarrett left the game in the second half as head coach Mike Locksley said Jarrett suffered a lower leg injury after the game.
  • Maryland got a long list of healthy players back against the Badgers, but were without a pair of key contributors after OL Mason Lunsford and LB Fa’Najae Gotay did not travel with the team. With Lunsford sidelined, freshman Coltin Deery made his second career start at center with Johari Branch at left guard and Spencer Anderson at right guard. Lunsford missed Saturday’s game due to concussion protocol and has not been able to practice this week.
  • Following a seven-yard reception on the first drive of the third quarter, senior receiver Dontay Demus now has a reception in 36 consecutive games.
  • Following a 5-yard reception early in the second quarter, junior receiver Rakim Jarrett now has a reception in 23 consecutive games.
  • Taulia’s ten completions and 43% completion are both career lows. Taulia finished 10-of-23 for 77 yards and threw one touchdown and interception.
  • Maryland failed to eclipse 100 passing yards for the first time since November 23, 2019 when the offense amassed just 57 yards in a home loss to Nebraska.
  • After 77 passing yards, Taulia becomes the program’s leader for career passing yards after surpassing Scott Milanovich’s 27 yard record of 7,301 yards.