To open up the scoring of the night and begin the onslaught of the contest, Taulia Tagovailoa connected with Dontay Demus Jr. to put the first six points on the board.
Threading the needle between two converging defenders, Tagovailoa struck Demus right between the numbers, in stride, out of reach of both the crossing safety and the trailing corner on the receiver’s slant route.
They connected six more times throughout for 128 of the offense’s 574 yards, typifying a competition that included an all out offensive assault from Maryland and considerable offensive ineptitude from Howard.
There was very little for Howard to take advantage of prior to the start of this contest. And as the game began, the disadvantage of the Bison was overwhelmingly resonant. Maryland’s defense was stingy, but more importantly, its offense was fluid and there was almost no room to breathe for the Bison. The result was a four quarter clinic that involved plenty of points and opportunities for bench players and ultimately ended in a 62-0 victory.
“Great team win,” head coach Mike Locksley said, “I thought, you know, our team for four quarters, regardless of who was in the game, maintained the intensity that we wanted to have.”
The walls began closing in on Howard right away. Three straight three-and-outs demonstrated that perfectly. When Howard’s Quinton Williams dropped back to pass, his time was limited or his targets were blanketed. When Howard opted to run, Jarrett Hunter, the team’s lone rusher, was often met by a towering defensive line.
On defense, Howard faced much of the same futility. Maryland’s offense was surgical, Tagovailoa was met with little resistance in the pocket and the Terps’ running backs were thriving. To start, the Terps’ offense charged down the field in between two of Howard’s first three and outs to jump out to a 14-0 lead.
The receivers were finding space on all levels of the field, with Demus setting the tone and ultimately leading the charge with the games first touchdown and 128 total yards. Demus’ performance marked the teams first back-to-back 100 yard performance from a receiver since Stephon Diggs in 2013.
“He’s been Mr consistent for us last few years,” Locksley said, “but what I think you see now is, you know, the dividends from the work that he’s put in the summer … no player in our program has probably mature as much and really put the work in to have the type of success he’s had.”
Rakim Jarrett assisted with six catches of his own and 67 yards. Peny Boone and Tayon Fleet-Davis also shared rushing opportunities and got a variety of looks, outside the hashes and in between the tackles.
The two backs ended with one touchdown apiece and totaled 97 yards as a tandem.
Maryland gave Howard a faint moment of hope when it gave up a 32 yard pass from Williams to A’Jae Boyd, giving the Bison their first first down of the contest, but when Howard failed to convert their fourth consecutive third down, their only promising drive of the game ended with a significantly short field goal attempt.
The Bison’s hopes and dreams were officially sealed shut at the end of the first half. After a 14 point first quarter, Maryland added 24 and an interception by Jakorian Bennett in the second.
New faces also made appearances in the box score. True freshman Colby McDonald scored his first touchdown with an 11 yard rush to put the Terps up 28 and Boone scored the first touchdown of his career to put the home team up 35.
Following an undemanding opening drive of the second half that ended with Tagovailoa’s third passing touchdown and Jarrett’s first of the night, Locksley ended the night early for the starters. In another impressive display, Tagovailoa took care of the ball and ended his night with an 81% completion percentage, three touchdowns and well over 200 yards.
“We get out there, we protect [Tagovailoa] for like three seconds and then it’s a touchdown,” offensive lineman Mason Lunsford said, “It’s really fun.”
Even without the likes of Demus and Tagovailoa, the platoon swap changed largely nothing for Howards fortunes, the Terps continued to trot to 50 and eventually 60 points and eclipse 500 total yards with Reece Udiniski, and eventually, Eric Najarian under center and Challen Faamantu, Roman Hemby and Antwaine Littleton taking handoffs.