COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WDVM) – The opportunity was there for Maryland Football on Friday, to earn its biggest win in decades – primetime game, under the lights, blackout in the stands, No. 5 Iowa in town – but all that was missing, was the win.
The Terps failed to start 5-0 for the first time in 20 years, falling to the Hawkeyes 51-14 at home, to drop to 4-1.
“I definitely feel as though it was a missed opportunity on our part,” Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley said. “Disappointing for our fans because they sure showed up for us when we needed them and it’s on me and it’s on all of us together as a team to kind of find a way to take advantage when we do have these type of opportunities.”
Things started off on the right note for Maryland, junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa connected with senior tight end Chig Okonkwo for a touchdown in the first quarter, to give Maryland a 7-3 lead.
But the second quarter began with a disastrous sequence. Iowa regained the lead with a score, 10-7, and on the kickoff following the touchdown, Maryland star senior wide receiver and NFL prospect Dontay Demus Jr. was hit hard on the return, fumbled and could not stand on his own power. Demus was carted off the field and was seen yelling, “I’m coming back.” The Hawkeyes scored another touchdown moments later.
From the start of the second quarter, to the middle of the third, Iowa scored 41 unanswered points. The black out turned into a stadium that was mostly yellow and empty seats.
“There’s so many people who want so many great things for this program,” Okonkwo said. “You know, when we go out there and have a showing like that, it really hurts, because you just know like we’re this close and just a couple mistakes away and it could have been a different ball game.”
After throwing just one interception in the first four games of the season, Tagovailoa threw four interceptions in the first half and five total. Maryland turned the ball over seven times, while Iowa had zero turnovers. Maryland committed ten penalties for 82 yards.
“We know how good we are when we play to our standard,” Maryland sophomore cornerback Tarheeb Still said. “You know we play as a team, limit the mistakes, limit the penalties, we’re a really good football team, so that’s just what we try to do, so just that’s what we’re gonna try to do, get back on track next week.”
Maryland needs two more wins to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. The Terps will visit No. 11 Ohio State next week.