Maryland coach Mike Locksley is pleased with his team’s season-opening home win over West Virginia, but says there’s plenty to work on going into Saturday night’s game against Howard.
“There’s still a lot of things on the film after watching that need to be corrected,” the third-year coach said as he addressed reporters ahead of Maryland’s next game against the Bison. “We’ve got to shore up our kickoff coverage unit, obviously.”
“We had four penalties on defense, and one of them cost us about four points,” Locksley said. “With the offsides penalties and the taunting, those are the kind of things that don’t sit well.”
The Terrapins (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) put on an impressive show at times in the 30-24 win over WVU last Saturday. Junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 332 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first game between the schools since 2015. Tagovailoa’s breakout performance turned heads across college football: He was one of the eight quarterbacks nominated up for this week’s Manning Award Quarterback of the Week honor.
“The playmakers on our team made the plays that needed to be made when the game was on the line,” Locksley said.
Two of those playmakers were Dontay Demus and Rakim Jarrett. The local products — Demus is a graduate of Friendship Collegiate and Jarrett a graduate of St. John’s in the District — posted nearly identical stat lines. Each caught six passes for a combined 255 yards and a touchdown.
Maryland’s defense forced four WVU turnovers, the biggest being a Jakorian Bennett end zone interception of Mountaineer quarterback Jarret Doege in the fourth quarter to preserve a 23-21 Terrapins lead. That pick happened in front of Maryland’s student section, and Locksley specifically noted how they and other Maryland fans showed up and provided energy during the win.
“They have no idea the impact they had on the game with it being a good game in the fourth quarter with the noise and energy that they brought,” Locksley said.
The Maryland Stadium crowd of 43,811 was the biggest for a home game since a loss to Penn State on Sept. 27, 2019.
“They’ve set the standard for what ‘The Shell’ could be and should look like in terms of the energy, the atmosphere,” Locksley said. “I’ve had numerous recruits who were at the game talk about the effect.”
Saturday’s game versus Howard will be the third between the schools and the first since a 79-0 Maryland rout in 2019. The Terrapins will be without junior linebacker Fa’Najae Gotay, who has a “significant upper body injury” that will require surgery.
“The philosophy for whether it’s Howard or West Virginia, for me it doesn’t change for us as a coaching staff,” Locksley said. “Our focus will be to play to the standard that we’ve created as a staff and a football family.”
The Terrapins will also wear special decals on their helmets Saturday, designed by players to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.