Maryland will close its 2022 season on Saturday as the Terps host Rutgers for senior day. Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Maryland has won six of the nine matchups Maryland opened as a 14-point favorite with an opportunity to secure seven regular season wins for the first time since 2014, while matching the program record with four Big Ten wins. Maryland squandered their chance at a home win last weekend against second-ranked Ohio State, but the effort in the battle left fans optimistic in what proved to be the most-watched game this weekend. With Rutgers looming, head coach Mike Locksley shares the latest on his team.
Senior Day Looming for Maryland
Saturday marks the final game inside SECU Stadium in Maryland football’s 2022 season, meaning it could be the last games for many of the 24 seniors on the roster. The extra COVID season could mean a handful return for another season in College Park, but the message to finish the home slate strong is one that resonates inside the locker room as the Terps look to move to 5-2 at home.
Locksley pointed to the departing senior class as key pieces in recreating the culture inside the program. “Some have been here for a year, others have been here from the time I got here and there are a few that were here prior to me coming here, but each one of them has made an impact on our program that I think will be beneficial for us as we move forward with the best obviously being ahead for our program. These guys played a major role in jumpstarting, the turnaround as well as, uh, laying the foundation of the type of culture we need to have to be successful here at the University of Maryland.”
Cornerback Tarheeb Still, meanwhile, is wrapping up his third season as a starter in the secondary as he’s grown alongside veterans Deonte Banks and Jakorian Bennett. “Those guys mean a lot to me because they’re part of the group that help pave the way for where we are now moving forward and where we’re still going,” Still said. “So I really respect those guys. Got a lot of love for those guys and we’re gonna leave it out in the field on Saturday and send ’em out the right way.”
Maryland Prepares for Rutgers
Maryland opened as a 14-points favorite against Rutgers (4-7, 1-7) ahead of Saturday as Locksley looks to improve to 4-2 against the Scarlet Knights. Maryland dominated en route to a 40-16 win in Piscataway last season as Taulia broke the single-season passing yardage record in the game with Corey Dyches reeling in a pair of touchdowns. Since 2014, Maryland is also averaging over 264 rushing yards against Rutgers—the fourth-most by any Big Ten team against a single opponent.
With Thanksgiving giving the team a midweek break, head coach Mike Locksley has shifted the preparation schedule ahead of Saturday. “Because of Thanksgiving and families coming in town, as well as honoring our 18 seniors or players that have exhausted their eligibility here, there’s a lot of other things that are important and so we’ll adjust our schedule a little this week,” he added. “Because school is canceled on Wednesday, we’ll go earlier to give our guys time to handle the things they need to get handled properly and also spend some extra time with their families. We’ll go in the morning, Wednesday and Thursday, which allows our players to get home for Thanksgiving and then back in here Friday to recalibrate and get our minds on a big time opponent coming in in Rutgers.”
While Maryland will look to end their three-game slide, Rutgers will look to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in Schiano’s third consecutive season with the program. “They’re a good team. You look at Rutgers, top 30 on defense nationally in the passing game and total defense. I have a lot of respect for the job Greg Schiano does as a coach. I’ve known him a long time. He’s one of those guys that has gone in and fixed programs and has had great success and when you look at the way he’s building the foundation there at Rutgers, you certainly can it with the way they play. Really strong special teams. I know they lead the Big Ten and block punts, uh, or block kicks and I’m sure he’ll have his team ready to finish the season the right way.”
No Injury Concerns for Taulia
The veteran quarterback left Saturday’s game with nine seconds remaining as he limped towards the sideline after yet another big hit from the Buckeyes’ front. Taulia added following the Ohio State game that “my knee is good” and on Tuesday, he assured once again he feels good heading into Rutgers. “Knee feels good. Yeah, it just got banged up at the last play but it’s good. Treatment, therapy and stuff like that [will] take care of it,” Taulia said today.
The performance comes off the heels of a 293-yard performance from Taulia where he completed passes to nine different receivers against a stingy Buckeyes’ defense. It was a vastly more efficient showing from the offense compared to the previous two road games, but while it wasn’t enough to secure the victory, Taulia saw positives heading into the season finale.
“It gives us confidence. Obviously, we really wanted to come away with the win that game but I think for our offense, I think it helps us to understand that, you know, if we execute, if everyone just does their job on the offense, that we can move the ball down the field and it’s not really what the defense does. It’s more so just focusing on our job and things that we need to do, and we see if we do that, then we can execute everything would be good.”