Nittany Lions Fall to 0-3 for the First Time Since 2001
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 35-19 on Saturday in Beaver Stadium, the largest margin of victory in school history for the Terps against Penn State.
The loss marks history for the Nittany Lions as well. It’s the first time they’ve started a season 0-3 since 2001.
Penn State led the all-time series against Maryland 40-2-1 going into the matchup that was dubbed a rivalry game, but hasn’t been close in recent years. Since 2016, the Nittany Lions have outscored the Terrapins 201-20.
The last time Maryland beat Penn State was in 2014. It was a back and forth battle that was capped off by a Brad Craddock 43-yard field goal that would be the game clincher. Before that, the last time the Terps were victorious against the Nittany Lions was 1961.
This year however, the Terps were 27.5 point underdogs on the road, yet it did not phase them whatsoever. Maryland won the turnover battle and controlled the tempo for the majority of the game and put Penn State in pressure situations time and time again.
Sophomore quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was 18-26 for 282 yards and had three passing touchdowns. Tagovailoa only had 13 rushing yards and was limited on the ground, but the aerial attack was the source of the Terps offensive firepower.
Wide receivers Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus Jr. combined for 230 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Jarrett had two early touchdowns on crossing routes that were almost identical in the first quarter.
Using speed to beat the Penn State secondary, Jarrett, the former five-star recruit, dashed down the sideline for 42 and 62 yards respectively.
“That’s why we recruited Rakim to Maryland,” head coach Mike Locksley said. “He believes in himself and he believes in his ability.”
Locksley revealed that he and the freshman wide receiver had a text conversation before the game.
“We brought you here to make plays,” Locksley told Jarrett in the message.
Conversely, the Nittany Lions could not find a rhythm on offense all day. Three turnovers halted drives and flipped field position. Quarterback Sean Clifford threw a career high 57 passes that netted 340 yards and ran the ball 17 times for 26 yards. He was also sacked 7 times, the most all season.
Wide receiver Jahan Dotson had over 100 yards receiving for the second week in a row, hauling in nine catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver Parker Washington also added a career high two receiving touchdowns with 70 yards receiving as well.
Dotson spoke about the state of the team after a third straight loss.
“We’re not as one right now. We’re not a unit right now,” Dotson said. “There are distractions that shouldn’t be focused on right now. We’ve got to be focused on getting in the win column, nothing else.”
Penn State scored seven points in the first half and faced its biggest deficit going into the locker room all season with the score sitting at 28-7.
When asked about potentially overlooking Maryland as an opponent, Penn State head coach James Franklin was quick to dispel that notion.
“I don’t think we underestimated anybody,” Franklin said. “When you haven’t been successful the first couple of games, it’s hard to overlook anybody.”
The Nittany Lions outgained and outscored Maryland in the second half, but it wasn't enough to surmount a comeback.
“We need to get it fixed and we need to get it fixed fast,” Franklin said.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Lincoln for a matchup next Saturday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, as they still search for their first win of the 2020 season.
Andrew Field is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.