Maryland football’s snap counts, PFF grades vs. Michigan State

Maryland moved to 4-0 after picking up its first win against Michigan State in East Lansing in 73 years. In the first conference game of the 2023 season, Maryland saw 56 different players see the field in Saturday’s 31-9 win against the Spartans. With that, we look at Maryland football’s snap counts and PFF grades in the Michigan State win.


Taulia Tagovailoa: 66

After accounting for four total touchdowns in the win, Tagovailoa finished 21-of-36 for 223 yards while throwing one interception, a redzone pick in the opening minutes of the second half.

Tagovailoa found his receivers in stride to start the game, finishing the first quarter 5-of-7 for 37 yards and a touchdown.

In a clean pocket, Tagovailoa was efficient after finishing 17-of-23 for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns, along with 12-of-16 on throws nine yards or fewer.

On the other hand, Tagovailoa finished 4-of-13 under pressure, drawing a 29.1 grade despite the offensive line not giving up a sack. Tagovailoa also finished 2-of-6 on throws 20 yards or more downfield with completions to both Tai Felton and Octavian Smith. Tagovailoa drew the fourth-highest grade on offense (67).

Running Backs

Roman Hemby: 30

Antwain Littleton II: 25

Colby McDonald: 12

Head coach Mike Locksley said postgame that Roman Hemby was limited through the week as the feature back finished with 12 yards on ten carries. Colby McDonald led the way on the ground with 38 yards on five carries, including a 25-yard rush to end the first quarter. The only problem? Maryland recorded just two rushes over ten yards in the win, and neither came from the backs: Colton Spangler adjusted to a fake punt to pick up 14 yards, while Tagovailoa picked up 18 yards on a quarterback keeper.

Hemby finished with the worst grade among any offensive player (47.5), while Antwain Littleton finished with the highest offensive grade (65.9) among the running backs, including the third-highest pass-blocking grade (81.5) among any player. Hemby wasn’t far behind Littleton in that category (79.7) with Colby McDonald finishing the fourth-worst pass-blocking grade on the day (73.8). Littleton finished the day with 33 yards on nine carries with 22 yards coming after contact and graded as the Terps’ top running back (65.7) compared to McDonald (59.8) and Hemby (51.6). 

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends

Kaden Prather: 47

Tai Felton: 42

Jeshaun Jones: 38

Corey Dyches: 35

Octavian Smith Jr.: 27

Preston Howard: 24

Tyrese Chambers: 22

Rico Walker: 14

Shaleak Knotts: 9

Robert Smith: 2

Dylan Wade: 1

AJ Szymanski: 1

Ezekiel Avit: 1

Kaden Prather led the Terps in receptions (6) and targets (8), drawing a 65 overall offensive grade. Tai Felton also led the team in yards (67) while Octavian Smith added 57 receiving yards on three catches, thanks to a 31-yard touchdown on a designed screen. Felton finished the day as the highest-graded skill player on offense (71.3) and in the receiving game (71.2), also finishing as the lone WR or TE to draw a grade of over 70 in either category. Tyrese Chambers hauled in his first touchdown as a Terp, while Sean Greeley (listed with the linebackers) added his first career touchdown to open the game’s scoring.

Preston Howard sprinkled in a hurdle on his lone nine-yard reception, while Rico Walker added a three-yard reception on his only target. Walker graded as the second-highest receiver (67.9) with Howard fourth (65).

Octavian Smith’s touchdown helped him grade as the second-best receiver on Saturday (67.6), with a near-even snap split in the slot (8) and outside (7).

Ezekiel Avit and AJ Szymanski made their third appearances of the season, while Dylan Wade has played in all four games to start the season.

Jeshaun Jones, who didn’t record a stat, finished with the second-worst offensive grade (52.5) among any player.

Offensive Line 

Gottlieb Ayedze: 66

Kyle Long: 66

DJ Glaze: 66

Corey Bullock: 66

Aric Harris: 63

Mike Purcell: 3 

Maryland’s offensive line move that they showed during the open portion of last week’s practice proved to be the starting offensive line, with Gottlieb Ayedze replacing Conor Fagan at right tackle and Kyle Long replacing Amelio Moran at left guard. Purcell replaced Harris along the line midway through the game for just three plays, but other than that, the Big Ten opener marked the first time that fans saw offensive line coach Brian Braswell trim the rotation.

That shouldn’t be a surprise with head coach Mike Locksley routinely referencing they’ll work to iron out the starting five with multiple players previously in the rotation. Whether Maryland sticks with the same starting five against Indiana remains to be seen, but in a game where the Spartans failed to generate a sack for the second consecutive week, the Terps saw plenty of good in the trenches.

Maryland had two different linemen grade above an 80 in pass blocking, with DJ Glaze finishing with a team-high 89.1 grade. Kyle Long finished with an 82.7 in his first start of the season, compared to Gotti Ayedze’s 75.4 grade. Aric Harris (75.3) and Corey Bullock (75.2) finished a hair behind Ayedze, while Purcell drew a 35.1 grade in two pass-blocking snaps.

Only two players graded higher than a 60 in run protection with Kyle Long (61.1) and Mike Purcell (60.0) leading the way. Ayedze (55.5), Harris (55.4), Bullock (55.2) and DJ Glaze (51.4) were graded as the four worst blockers against the Spartans.

Defensive Line

Tommy Akingbesote: 43

Quashon Fuller: 42

Jordan Phillips: 40

Taizse Johnson: 31

Christian Teague: 31

Riyad Wilmot: 26

Tre Colbert: 27

Lavon Johnson: 9

Dillan Fontus: 6

Daniel Owens: 4

Quashon Fuller led the unit with four tackles on Saturday and was the lone lineman to register either a sack or TFL (1), but it was Tommy Akingbesote (76.1) who graded as the highest defensive player in the win. The duo also graded as the two best tacklers at their position with Fuller (76.1) topping Akingbesote (74.5), but no player along the defensive line graded higher than a 70 in run defense.

Taizse Johnson drew the second-lowest grade among any defensive player (47.2), including 44.9 in run defense, after not recording a stat yet called for a facemask to extend the Spartans’ drive in the first half.

Jordan Phillips (63) and Tre Colbert (60.3) finished middle of the pack in overall defense, while both finished with the second-and-highest grades in run defense with Phillips (65.5) narrowly edging Colbert (64.8).

The lone key contributor sidelined for Saturday’s win was Isaac Bunyun, and with that, Christian Teague stepped into an elevated role as he graded as the fifth-worst defender (56.5) in 31 snaps.


Kellan Wyatt: 45

Jaishawn Barham: 42

Donnell Brown: 35

Fa’Najae Gotay: 33

Ruben Hyppolite II: 30

Caleb Wheatland: 28

Gereme Spraggins: 12

Sean Greeley: 7

Daniel Wingate: 6

Mike Harris: 4

Ruben Hyppolite (81.6) and Fa’Najae Gotay (81) led the defense in tackling grades with Jaishawn Barham (77.7), Donnell Brown (77.4) and Caleb Wheatland (77.1) not far behind. Hyppolite’s highest grade shouldn’t be a total surprise after posting six tackles, including four solo, along with an assisted TFL. Donnell Brown also led the defense in run defense (76.3) as the portal addition came up with his third takeaway in as many weeks, leading Locksley to joke postgame that “we brought him here to get after the quarterback.”

After assisting on a sack and adding three tackles, Kellan Wyatt finished middle of the pack with his overall defensive grade (61.2), including a 54.5 grade in coverage. Wheatland was the only player to grade above 70 in pass rush, finishing with a 76.3 grade, while Riyad Wilmot led the defense in coverage (74.5).

Defensive Backs

Dante Trade Jr.: 77

Tarheeb Still: 70

Beau Brade: 67

Glen Miller: 61

Ja’Quan Sheppard: 59

Corey Coley Jr.: 18

Gavin Gibson: 11

Lionell Whitaker: 8

Kevis Thomas: 4

Lavain Scruggs: 4

Perry Fisher: 4

Rex Fleming: 4

Chantz Harley: 3

Dante Trader Jr. finished with the second-highest defensive grade on Saturday (72.1), one of two players eclipsing a 70 grade in the category. Trader was almost able to edge Wilmot in coverage, finishing second with a 74.3 grade, but the second-year starter was the lone defensive back to grade above 70 in the category. Ja’Quan Sheppard (79.6), Gavin Gibson (79.5) and Perry Fisher (75.1) all graded above 75 in tackling.

Per PFF, Still allowed four receptions for 67 yards on ten targets. Sheppard allowed four catches for 39 yards on six targets. Glen Miller allowed three catches for 51 yards on five targets, while Gavin Gibson allowed three catches for 46 yards on four targets. Trader Jr. was the lone player who recorded a dropped interception, though a stretch of the term ‘drop’ considering the juggling catch while falling along the sideline.

While allowing one catch for four yards in the win, it was second-year cornerback Perry Fisher who finished as the highest-graded cornerback in coverage (64.3).

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