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2022 MAC Football Week 1 Game Recap: Maryland Terrapins 31, Buffalo Bulls 10

The Bulls couldn’t move the ball with consistency in a tough three-possession loss at College Park.

NCAA Football: Buffalo at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bulls (0-1) traveled down the Atlantic seaboard to take on the Big Ten’s Maryland Terrapins (1-0) on Saturday afternoon, ultimately struggling to stop the big plays— or create them— in a 31-10 loss in College Park, Maryland.

The tone of the game was set early, as the Terrapins stopped Ron Cook’s first two attempts of the day, before bringing the house down on Buffalo’s debutante QB Cole Snyder to force a three-and-out.

Maryland made them pay just a few plays later, with Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa connecting on passes of 25 yards and 14 yards to start the drive before running back Roman Hembry broke out for a 33-yard touchdown run to cap the first Terps effort and put them up 7-0 with 12:44 to go in the first quarter.

The teams would exchange punts for the rest of the period before Maryland scored once again at the 12:14 mark, when running back Antwain Littleton ended the drive with a two-yard score to double the lead 14-0.

Buffalo took the next possession from their own 35 to the Maryland 25, threatening to score, but the Terrapin defense stepped up in a big way, with two straight pass break-ups on second and third down by Jakobian Bennett and Ruben Hyppolite II to force a field goal attempt. The kick by Alex McNulty sailed wide, but an offsides penalty gave the Bulls another chance on a fourth-and-two play from outside the UMD redzone.

The Bulls failed to convert on the short pass from Snyder to Cook, giving Maryland the ball back. They would convert the turnover-on-downs to more points, with Chad Ryland kicking the 33-yard field goal to put UMD up 17-0 with 6:30 remaining in the first half.

Buffalo put together another good drive after that, with Snyder going 4-of-5 for 30 yards to help set up the Al-Jay Henderson 19-yard touchdown run to finally get the Bulls on the board with 3:03 to go in the first half.

The third quarter started off with a bang, as Roman Hembry picked up his second touchdown of the day on a 70-yard scamper down the sideline untouched just 39 seconds into the new frame to put the Terps up 24-7.

Buffalo promptly went three-and-out, giving the ball back to Maryland, and things looked like they were once again spiraling out of control after Tagovailoa found Rakim Jarrett along the sideline for a 22-yard strike on the first play. On third-and-13 from the Buffalo 41, however, Tagovailoa went for it all on a throw down the middle of the field, misfiring and finding Buffalo safety Marcus Fuqua between the numbers instead for an interception.

After yet another exchange of punts, Maryland reeled off perhaps their best drive of the day, an 11-play, 79-yard series which lasted over four minutes of game clock which ended in a leaping one-yard touchdown run for Antwain Littleton, his second of the day.

Buffalo’s best drive of the game would come on its penultimate possession, as they drove from their own four-yard line all the way up to the Maryland 16-yard line, thanks in part to a 34-yard bomb from Snyder to Justin Marshall. The Bulls would have two straight passes towards the endzone broken up by Jakobian Bennett and Lionell Whitaker on second and third downs, ultimately having to settle for a 34-yard Alex McNulty field goal to bring the game to its final score of 31-10.

Former Rutgers QB Cole Snyder made his first start as a Bull on Saturday, finishing 18-of-35 for 160 yards, getting sacked four times. Justin Marshall led the Bulls with 58 yards receiving on four receptions, with Quian Williams (three catches, 28 yards) and Jamari Gassett (three catches, 22 yards) right behind. Maryland keyed in on the run and it worked, as Ron Cook Jr. was limited to 28 yards on 15 rushes.

The Bulls defensive effort was highlighted by Marcus Fuqua (four tackles, one pass break-up and one interception), while Keyshawn Cobb and Logic Huggins both led the Bulls in tackles (8.) At least five Bulls had one tackle-for-loss, while Daymond Williams picked up the lone sack on the day.

Placekicker Alex McNulty missed from 41 yards, but made a 34-yard attempt on the day, while punter Jackson Baltar had seven punts for 312 net yards, with two landing inside the 20-yard line.

For Maryland, Taulia Tagovailoa finished the game 24-of-34 for 290 yards and one interception on the day, getting sacked once. Roman Hembry dominated the stat sheets, picking up 114 yards with no losses on just seven carries, while Antwain Littleton scored twice on six carries for 34 yards. Rakim Jarrett led all receivers with 114 yards on six receptions.

Defensively, Mosiah Masili-Kite led the Terrapins in total tackles (6), while also picking up two tackels-for-loss and a sack. Henry Chibueze (four tackles) led the team in sacks (two), while Jakorian Bennett had an incredible five pass break-ups to pair with five tackles.

Former Eastern Michigan kicker Chad Ryland went 1-of-1 in his Maryland debut, while Colton Spangler had four punts for 202 yards, two punts inside the 20 and two punts resulting in touchbacks.

Buffalo will next take the field to host their home opener against Holy Cross on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Maryland will play Charlotte on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.