Unit Grades: Maryland 31, Buffalo 10

Maryland walked away with a season-opening 31-10 win over Buffalo but it wasn’t all pretty. Breaking down how Maryland fared unit by unit.

QB: B-

It was an underwhelming day for Maryland’s passing attack, but Taulia Tagovailoa had a solid showing appear on the stat book. He finished the day 24-of-34 for 290 yards without a touchdown and one interception, a pass just overthrown from tight end Corey Dyches’s reach in the second half. Taulia also fell short on a long ball to WR Tai Felton and missed Rakim Jarrett on a misfire on 3rd down. What did stick out was Taulia finishing the day 7-of-12 on passes five to 15 yards down field and Taulia completing seven consecutive passes during the first half. Still, Maryland didn’t open up the playbook in week one and didn’t look to stretch Buffalo’s secondary through the air even with a strong receiver room leading the way. QB Billy Edwards entered the game late in the fourth quarter to close out the game.


The top-end speed from Roman Hemby was on full display, especially on his 70-yard touchdown run to open up the second half. It’s a big reason why Hemby was coveted out of high school and why he’s been able to draw rave reviews leading up to the season. Led by Hemby, the rushing attack produced the longest run since Anthony McFarland back in 2019 and finished with an efficient 5.7 yards per carry. Antwain littleton also punched in a pair of touchdowns while Ramon Brown and Colby McDonald combined for 7 yards on 7 carries, but Hemby also proved well in pass blocking to pick up pressure to give Taulia in the pocket. Solid showing from the young backs as Maryland looks to create a balanced attack on offense.


Rakim Jarrett punched in his fifth 100-yard receiving game of his career, finishing with 110 yards on six catches while Jeshaun Jones finished fourth with 70 yards. They were two of nine different receivers who caught at least one pass but the unit did struggle with a handful of drops through the game. The unit did well creating separation for the most part of the day and designed plays help Jarrett break off big plays. It was interesting to see Jacob Copeland not a focal point of the passing attack while Dontay Demus finished with just three catches for 23 yards, but Maryland fans will look for the explosive plays through the air in week two against Charlotte.


TE CJ Dippre saw ample time with the starters and filled in as primarily a blocking tight end, giving the trenches another stout piece to stabilize the blocking. He also finished with 30 receiving yards on three catches while Dyches finished with 36 yards on four catches. The room does well complementing the rest of the offense and Dyches and Dippre fit the need for a blocking and receiving threat perfectly, evidenced by their play on Saturday. The biggest takeaway is the long-term status of tight end Corey Dyches after coming up hobbled in the fourth quarter, who will be leaned on in Maryland’s offense this fall. 


Maryland excelled in pass protection yet drew a grade of 53.6 in run blocking, among the lowest of Power Five schools in action in week one. The silver lining is that Buffalo generated just one sack as the Terps were consistently able to pick up positive plays and just like last year, rotations played a hand here. Amelio Moran checked into the game in the first half and lined up at right guard, where he also saw time last fall, while Ja’Khi Green, Andre Roye and Max McCree helped close out the game for Maryland. Especially in non-conference play, Locksley hasn’t been shy about maximizing snaps to best expose his young players and Saturday was no different.

DL: A-

Mosiah Nasili-Kite and Ami Finau returned to anchor the defensive line while Durell Nchami and Greg Rose flipped between outside linebacker and defensive end at times on Saturday. Fans also got a chance to see Henry Chibueze, Austin Fontaine and Tommy Akingbesote throughout the game while walk-on defensive end Christian Teague also found his way into the game. Interesting that Taizse Johnson wasn’t spotted in the season-opener, but Issac Bunyan was back in action as well. The unit was responsible for three of the four Maryland sacks and four of the seven tackles for loss with Finau, Nasili-Kite and Chibueze all doing well disrupting the play and filling the gaps well. Maryland also drew a grade of 78.5 in run defense from PFF and limited Buffalo to just 2.8 yards per carry. On Buffalo’s 4th-and-2 six minutes into the 2nd quarter, Finau did well sniffing out the play to bring Buffalo RB Ron Cook down ahead of the sticks. Good showing in the trenches.

LB: B+

It was going to be hard keeping freshman linebacker Jaishawn Barham off the field and in his first game, the former blue chip prospect made his first career start. Ruben Hyppolite and Ahmad McCullough were also spotted early and often while VanDarius Cowan filled in at both JACK and SAM to help create pressure off the edge. It’s possible there were others, but it was Kellan Wyatt who stuck out and exceeded expectations in week one as he did well flashing his quick twitch to register a pair of tackles and sack. McCullough, meanwhile, had a handful of plays where he shot the gaps well but the unit as a whole did well covering in space and wrapping up to secure the tackle. Still kinks to work out in pass coverage but an efficient day.

Secondary: C

Maryland had a chance to generate turnovers but failed to capitalize, a problem that extends into last season. Maryland’s cornerbacks did struggle turning their heads with the ball in the air, while a third of the team’s penalties were a result of pass interference. Freshman defensive back Gavin Gibson filled in at cornerback with Corey Coley not dressed on Saturday and showed signs of becoming a reliable Big Ten cornerback, but the starters will be dinged for the lack of turnovers forced. Beau Brade did decent in coverage and lined up in the box frequently, a big reason why he finished with a team-high eight tackles in the win.

Special Teams: B

A 45-yard attempt was all we saw from Chad Ryland on Saturday, but knocking it through helped the Terps stretch its first-half lead. In the return game, freshman receiver Octavian Smith flashed his elite quickness in a 41-yard kickoff return that showed early signs of being a touchdown but his explosiveness is evidence why he’s such a great fit as a returner. Spangler took in four of Maryland’s five punts on the day as the two averaged 47.4 yards per punt, including a pair of 50-plus yard punts. Again, miscues hurt Maryland and an offside call by Deonte Banks helped give Buffalo a second-chance at adding points on the board. Those are the exact type of penalties that Maryland will need to avoid come conference play.