After a lackluster performance against the University of Akron on Sept. 23, Indiana football struggled mightily against Maryland on Saturday afternoon in College Park.
The Hoosiers fell 44-17, moving to 2-3 on the season and 0-2 within the Big Ten. The Terrapins remained undefeated with the victory, and redshirt senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa shined with five touchdown passes and a rushing score.
On the first snap from scrimmage, Tagovailoa found graduate receiver Jeshaun Jones wide open for a 62-yard pickup. Just two plays later, Tagovailoa flipped a screen pass to junior receiver Tai Felton, who took off for a 13-yard touchdown.
Indiana began its first drive with strong momentum as sophomore running back Jaylin Lucas returned the kickoff 56 yards to Maryland’s 39. The Hoosiers moved the ball well with senior running back Christian Turner, but the drive stalled inside the Terrapin’s 10 and redshirt junior kicker Chris Freeman converted a 25-yard field goal try to pull the score to 7-3.
With a little under six minutes to go in the quarter, Maryland picked up a drive from Indiana’s 29-yard line. On the first play, Tagovailoa connected with Felton for a 29-yard touchdown strike up the middle of the field.
The Hoosiers’ offense continued to struggle, and the Terrapins started another drive with excellent field position with roughly three and a half minutes remaining. On the second play of the drive, Tagovailoa took a quarterback keeper 19 yards for a touchdown, extending Maryland’s lead to 21-3.
Starting from its own 7-yard line, Indiana embarked on a methodical 15-play, 79-yard drive. It ultimately came up short, however, as redshirt freshman quarterback Tayven Jackson couldn’t connect with redshirt sophomore tight end Aaron Steinfeldt on 4th and 6 in the red zone.
Indiana’s fourth down and short yardage struggles persisted. With just over a minute left in the half, the Hoosiers attempted a triple option on 4th and 1 from Maryland’s 39, but Jackson was sacked for 11 yards.
Maryland quickly capitalized and worked down the field with ease. Tagovailoa capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Felton, who grabbed his third score of the day in the first half alone.
Redshirt sophomore kicker Jack Howes missed the extra point, and Indiana headed into the locker room trailing 27-3.
Faced with a 4th and 9 from their own 24-yard line, the Hoosiers attempted a fake punt. The pass to redshirt freshman receiver Omar Cooper Jr. came up one yard short of the first down marker, and Maryland yet again took over in Indiana’s territory.
The Terrapins’ drive stalled at Indiana’s 26, and Howes converted a 44-yard field goal to extend the lead to 30-3.
Indiana continued to struggle offensively, and Maryland regained possession with a little under nine minutes to go in the quarter. Aided by a 46-yard connection from Tagovailoa to Felton, the Terrapins quickly worked deep into Indiana territory.
From the three-yard line, Tagovailoa found freshman tight end Dylan Wade for his fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon. Trailing 37-3, redshirt freshman quarterback Brendan Sorsby took over the offense, marking his first action since week two against Indiana State University.
Maryland’s 10-play, 57-yard drive was ultimately spoiled as Howes’ field goal try was blocked by Indiana redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Marcus Burris Jr. Sorsby found senior receiver DeQuece Carter for a 26-yard pickup, and two plays later, connected with junior wideout Donovan McCulley for an 11-yard score.
With just over 11 minutes left in the game, Maryland drove 75 yards in nine plays to tack on another score. Tagovailoa tossed his fifth touchdown pass of the day to cap off the drive, this time for 14 yards to junior receiver Kaden Prather.
With 25 seconds left, Sorsby found junior receiver Andison Coby for a 16-yard touchdown pass. The offense came alive far too late, though, and Indiana fell by a final score of 44-17. The Hoosiers moved to 2-3 on the season with the loss, and Maryland remained undefeated.