Maryland football is headed south for its third consecutive bowl game.
The Terps will play Auburn in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Maryland finished 7-5 in the regular season, its third straight seven-win campaign, and hopes to win three consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history.
The Tigers finished the regular season 6-6, their third six-win campaign in the last four years.
“Our players, our program is really looking forward to playing inside of a great football venue, Nissan Stadium and a great football city,” coach Michael Locksley said. “We’re thrilled to have the quality opponent like an SEC team, like Auburn.”
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa said he plans to play in the bowl game. It would be the final game of his four-year Terps career, which will end with him as the Big Ten’s all-time leading passer and the program’s record holder in career passing yards and touchdowns.
Locksley has begun meeting with players to discuss if they’ll play in the bowl, the coach said Sunday. No Terps have announced their intentions of opting out of the game.
Maryland enters the bowl with two wins in its last three contests, the only defeat a seven-point loss to Big Ten champion and playoff-bound Michigan.
The Terps raced toward bowl eligibility with five wins to open the season, but took until November to clinch their sixth. Maryland found that victory in a 13-10 triumph over Nebraska. Jack Howes’ game-winning field goal gave the Terps their first win in more than a month.
Maryland beat Virginia Tech, 54-10, in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl two seasons ago. Tagovailoa threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns in the Terps’ first bowl win since 2010. They followed that with a 16-12 win against NC State in last year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Maryland’s defense forced two turnovers and held the Wolfpack to just three points in the second half.
A third straight bowl game win would make Maryland history. The Terps won three bowls over a five-year stretch in the 2000s and went to six consecutive bowls in the 1970s, but a three-year winning streak has eluded them.
“The opportunity to continue to develop our team through these practices that we’re able to get because of being bowl eligible for the third straight year, you just can’t put a price tag on it,” Locksley said.
Jaishawn Barham, Corey Dyches to transfer
Barham announced Sunday he’ll enter the transfer portal. Dyches announced the same Saturday.
“This is the landscape of college football,” Locksley said. “This is where we are with it. We understand it and know that we’ll lose certain guys … We wish them nothing but the best.”
The linebacker, a signing day flip two years ago, has been one of Maryland’s top defenders since his arrival. Barham was named an All-Big Ten honorable mention after his 37 tackle and three sack sophomore campaign.
Dyches caught 49 passes for 491 yards and two touchdowns and was named All-Big Ten third team this season.
They’re the sixth and seventh Terps to announce their intention to transfer after freshman tight end Rico Walker, freshman defensive back Tamarcus Cooley, sophomore defensive back Gavin Gibson, freshman offensive lineman Ja’Kavion Nonar and junior defensive back Corey Coley Jr.
Barham was one of Maryland’s cornerstone defensive players and leaves behind a Terps defense that is slated to lose a number of its top players. Dyches and Walker’s departures leaves a vacant tight end room entering next season. Redshirt freshman Preston Howard and freshman Dylan Wade are in line to take on expanded roles for the TransPerfect Music City Bowl and beyond.
Maryland has now lost its highest ranked recruit to the transfer portal in each of the last three classes.