PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Taulia Tagovailoa’s first obligation was to a Big Ten Network postgame interview. His teammates chanted his name from afar as the quarterback answered questions, pleading with him to join the rest of the group for a team photo. He jogged over with a smile, sat on the SHI Stadium turf and posed.

Tagovailoa’s next move was a sprint to his family in the bleachers. He met his parents, Diane and Galu, his sisters, Taylor and Taysia, and his girlfriend. He hugged each — Diane the longest — before grinning for more pictures.

The tight-knit family has stuck with Tagovailoa through the highs and lows of his long career. It was fitting that after the peak of the quarterback’s Maryland tenure, they were all he wanted to share the moment with.

“They’re there every step of the way,” Tagovailoa said. “It’s a blessing how everything comes around.”

Tagovailoa became the Big Ten’s all-time leading passer in the Terps’ 42-24 dismantling of Rutgers on Saturday. The win in Maryland’s regular-season finale gave the Terps seven wins for the third consecutive year, a stretch powered by their trailblazing quarterback.

Tagovailoa set the record late in the second quarter on a six-yard completion to Jeshaun Jones, one of the quarterback’s most trusted targets throughout his career. He passed Purdue’s Curtis Painter, who played from 2005 to 2008.

It’s the latest, and perhaps most prestigious, of an extensive list of records for Tagovailoa. He’s Maryland’s program record holder in career passing yards, touchdowns and completions and has thrown for 3,000 yards in each of the last three seasons, including a 3,860 yard campaign in 2021.

[Taulia Tagovailoa was good enough to raise Maryland’s expectations — but not to meet them]

Tagovailoa, who said he plans to play in the Terps’ bowl game, finished Saturday with a season-high 361 yards and led an offense that enjoyed one of its most commanding games of the season.

The quarterback capped Maryland’s first possession with a 34-yard touchdown strike to Tai Felton down the right sideline. He opened the Terps’ next drive with a 49-yard completion to Jones and ran for a score on the ensuing play.

“Seeing him staple himself in history forever, that’s a big thing,” Felton said.

Roman Hemby, who eclipsed 100 rushing yards for the first time since Week 2, took a screen pass 17 yards for Maryland’s third touchdown. On the Terps’ next play from scrimmage, Tagovailoa hit an unguarded Corey Dyches for a 44-yard score. Maryland ended each of its first four possessions with touchdowns and added two more in the second half.

Tagovailoa learned he broke the record at halftime when he reached the locker room as his team led 28-17. Billy Edwards Jr., who added two rushing touchdowns, found out sooner — a staffer on the sideline whispered to Edwards when Tagovailoa was four yards away from the historic mark.

“Don’t tell him that,” Edwards recalled saying.

Rutgers has been the rare Big Ten East team Maryland has been able to control since they joined the conference together in 2014 — the Scarlet Knights are the Terps’ only division rival they have a winning record against. Maryland has now won five of the last six matchups, including the last three by an average margin of more than 26 points.

Maryland shutout Rutgers last season and held Michigan to six points in the second half last week. Like its counterparts, the defense shined early, struggled to end the first half then surged after the break.

[Taulia Tagovailoa’s three turnovers hand Maryland football 31-24 loss to No. 2 Michigan]

The Scarlet Knights found the end zone twice in the second quarter, the latter coming after a Tagovailoa interception. What was a 25-point lead shrunk to a 11-point margin.

That gap never got closer.

It took Rutgers six second-half drives to cross midfield. Maryland forced five punts. And Glendon Miller’s third interception of the season, his team’s lone takeaway, punctuated a suffocating showing.

“Once you control the momentum, they can’t do anything,” safety Dante Trader Jr. said.

Saturday’s win is even more lucrative for coach Michael Locksley. The seventh victory triggers a performance incentive in the coach’s contract that extends the deal by one year at $7 million. He’s now under contract through the 2028 season.

Maryland fell short of the expectations Locksley set before the season, but his team now has a chance to reach eight wins for the second consecutive year. That hasn’t been done since 2003, a potential feat led by the coach and quarterback tandem.

After he dapped up teammates then wrapped his arms around his mother, Locksley was Tagovailoa’s final embrace when the pair met in the locker room. The coach knows his quarterback could have left College Park any time — or never came at all.

Four years after they joined forces, Tagovailoa cemented himself as one of the Big Ten’s greatest passers. To that, Locksley knows he’s indebted.

“For what he’s been able to do to help us elevate this program, we owe him a lot,” the coach said.