Sunday, September 25, 2022

Unbeaten Terps enter grueling stretch, top first: No. 5 Iowa

COLLEGE PARK, MD (WNN) — This is the type of sport Maryland has been striving for as the Terrapins rebuild their program under coach Michael Loxley.

A top five rival in the city – for a nationally televised night game between two undefeated teams.

“Not only to follow the football program, not just the University of Maryland, I think you can’t pay for these marketing dollars,” Locksley said Tuesday. “Hopefully people will be able to notice that we are building a football brand, but we have an academic brand and we have great people and we have a good space that needs to be showcased.”

5 Iowa on Friday night’s home game of Maryland should really be a big event for the entire school. Terrapins have come up short against tough competition under Locksley before, but this time there is reason to think that terrapins are more ready to compete.

Maryland is 4-0 for the first time since 2016, and a win over the Hawkeye will give the Terrapins a 5-0 start for the first time since 2001. The most recent victory over Maryland’s top five team was against Florida State in 2004.

“If we do things the right way through the game and we play to our standard, that’s another win that earns another opportunity to have another big game next week,” Locksley said.

The next week, the Terps play at Ohio State.

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Maryland makes an unbeaten entry in this exciting segment as it beat West Virginia and Illinois In close games. A win this week would give the Terps their first 2-0 record in Big Ten play since joining the league ahead of the 2014 season. Discussing the challenge of preparation over the course of a short week, Loxley highlighted Maryland’s relatively short history at the conference. The Illinois game two weeks ago was also on a Friday night.

“I think we’re still the new kid on the block, playing two Friday night games in back-to-back weeks,” Locksley said in his third season as Maryland coach. “At some point, we might get full membership where we might not have to, and make my life a little easier.”

But playing on Friday has its advantages. The Maryland-Iowa game will take place on Fox Sports 1 on a night when the college football schedule is less crowded.

“Super excited, because it’s Friday night’s game again,” said receiver Brian Cobbs. “We haven’t had this opportunity like in high school, if you really think about it. We’re very excited. We know Terp Nation is going to come out and kind of raise the excitement level.”

Maryland looks like a threat to upset this week as Cobbs, his fellow receivers, and Maryland in general have the passing game. Toulia Tagovailoa leads the Big Ten this season with 1,340 yards. He has also completed 75.5% of his passes with 10 touchdowns and one interception.

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However there is room for improvement in Terps. Last weekend, he allowed a 458-yard offense in a win over the state of Kent. Penalties and turnovers were also a concern in that game.

Loxley stresses the need for Maryland to play at a certain level and not worry too much about who the opponent is. He also said that the Terrapins should focus on the process, working hard during the week so that they can enjoy the games.

“The fun is the day of the game. The fun comes when we go to play,” he said. “The game day is where it is time to encourage, build, support our players. The day is to work like a maniac, so that means I didn’t do enough of it from Monday to Friday.”

Although the preparation can be tough and the game will be challenging, punter Anthony Pecorella just sums up the mood of the Maryland event.

“We’re definitely excited. It’s going to be a great environment,” Pecorella said. “Excited to have all of our product on film for the whole country to see.”


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