COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND — Maybe all of the college football aphorisms about getting off to good starts is just a bunch of hooey. As far as the Maryland Terrapins are concerned, another poor start resulted in another furious finish to continue their rollercoaster, yet unblemished, start of the 2023 season.
Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 342 yards and a score while the Terrapins defense forced four turnovers as Maryland came back from a 14-point first quarter deficit for a second consecutive week, this time defeating Virginia 42-14 inside SECU Stadium. Braeden Wisloski sparked the comeback with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the first quarter, the beginning of a run that saw the Terrapins score 42 unanswered points in a game that was much more competitive than the final scoreline.
Last Saturday, Charlotte took a 14-0 lead within the first five minutes of the game before the Terrapins scored 38 unanswered points in a 38-20 victory.
Maryland had taken its first lead of the game tonight, 21-14. early in the third on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Jeshaun Jones with 10:24 in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, Virginia marched to the Terrapins’ 12-yard line before true freshman quarterback Anthony Colandrea threw an interception in the end zone to Tarheeb Still, the first of three consecutive passes that the Maryland defense picked off to turn the tide in the fourth quarter.
The Terrapins completed a nine-play, 80-yard drive after that first interception, capped off by Roman Hemby’s second touchdown run to double Maryland’s lead at 28-14. On the next play from scrimmage, defensive end Donnell Brown leaped in the air to tip, then control, a Colandrea pass to give Maryland the ball at the Cavaliers’ 30-yard line. Tagovailoa connected with tight end Corey Dyches for 28 yards on the first play of the drive, and then running back Antwain Littleton II scored from two yards out a couple of plays later.
Colandrea’s third interception of the quarter, and the second pick for Still, led to the Terrapins’ third touchdown of the frame, a Colby McDonald one-yard plunge to provide the game’s final margin.
Before the spate of picks, Colandrea, a surprise starter under center for Virginia head coach Tony Elliott, was having a stellar performance both through the air and on the ground. Overall, Colandrea completed 23-of-39 passes for 263 yards, and his touchdown pass to Kobe Pace with 4:32 left in the first quarter had given Virginia a 14-0 advantage.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s contest, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 33 pictures in total.