Maryland had a rocky start to the 2020 season. A 43-3 loss to Northwestern in Week 1 left many wanting more from the Terrapins. Week 2 was a different story, however. The team bounced back with a 45-44 victory over Minnesota to move to 1-1 on the season.
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is a perfect representation for how things looked different.
Last week, the former Alabama quarterback threw for less than 100 yards, averaged 3.8 yards per attempt and tossed three interceptions while producing zero touchdowns. Against Minnesota on Friday, he totaled 458 yards (394 passing, 64 rushing) and five total touchdowns while averaging 11.3 yards per attempt.
That night-and-day difference was obvious, and it proves why coach Mike Locksley chose the younger brother of Tua Tagovailoa to lead his offense. Taulia, also known as Lia, was accurate and efficient while distributing the football to multiple weapons.
Six different players saw at least three catches, after all.
The comparisons to Tua will always be there for the younger Tagovailoa brother. Is it fair? No, but it is inevitable.
After Friday night’s performance, people will dial up the question asking if Lia could end up being the better college quarterback. Overreactions happen all the time, and it is bound to happen regarding this situation by at least one person.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
Tua never had a performance like Lia did in Week 1. The closest the Miami Dolphins quarterback ever came to struggling that much was against Georgia in the 2018 SEC Championship, and he didn’t even get to finish the game.
One thing Lia does have in his favor right now is his health. It’s still too early to say he won’t share the same injury bug as his older brother, but he’s out there. The best ability is availability, right? He is also performing — or at least he did in Week 2. That is a good sign.
With that being said, Tua was one of college football’s top quarterbacks for two seasons.
Yes, he dealt with multiple injuries, but he was fantastic. He produced almost 4,000 passing yards (3,996) and 43 touchdowns to only six interceptions in 2018. And he was on pace to shatter those numbers in 2019 before suffering a season-ending hip injury.
The former Heisman Tropher runner up played at an elite level for an extended period of time. We can’t go there with Lia — at least not yet. But Friday night is at least a step in the right direction.
Prepare yourself for the hot takes, however. They are probably coming.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.