COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland football team returned to the field Saturday for the first time since winning the Dukes Mayo Bowl in December to cap off a successful 2022 campaign.
In its annual Red-White Spring Game, fans were treated to a tight affair, ending with the Red team squeaking away with a 20-19 victory.
However, the score was as crucial for head coach Michael Locksley and Co. Both teams combined for about 110 plays, giving players ample playing time to show the coaching staff the improvements made during spring practice.
“The group as a whole, and spring as a whole, has been a success for us,” Locksley, who recently signed a new contract through the 2027 season, said.
New transfer wide receiver Tyrese Chambers won the Spring Game MVP award after finishing with four catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns for the Red team. The Baltimore native said he believes he can make an impact with Maryland, which he called his dream school, this fall.
“It’s coming to fruition,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to be out here in front of my hometown.”
Chambers and West Virginia transfer Kaden Prather are two new options that Locksley plans to utilize to help strengthen the receiver core following Dontay Demus and Rakim Jarrett’s departures to the NFL.
“They’re both still in that learning mode,” Locksley stated about Chambers and Prather. “The tempo in which we play, and being able to get lined up cleanly, but a testament today.”
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa looked ready for another fall in College Park after throwing 16 of 24 for 210 yards and scoring one touchdown for the Red Team in the first half.
“Today’s game was a lot of fun,” said Tagovailoa. “This spring, we’ve gotten some great work in and great practices. Probably the more productive spring that I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Former DeMatha Catholic High School signal caller Cameron Edge stepped in for the Red team in the second half, going 10 of 17 for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, quarterback Billy Edwards Jr. handled the offense for the White Team, throwing 13 of 22 for 224 passing yards and two touchdowns.
On the ground, Antwain Littleton had 105 yards rushing, including a 35-yard rushing touchdown for the White Team, while Colby McDonald finished with 60 yards on 10 carries for the Red Team.
Receiving-wise, Corey Dyches led the Red team with six catches for 43 yards, while Tai Felton finished with 75 yards on five receptions. For the White team, Leon Haughton Jr. led the way with three catches for 69 yards and a score, while Preston Howard finished with three receptions for 61 yards.
Both teams were tied at 10-10 at halftime, but the Red team eventually took a 17-10 lead after the third quarter after Chambers’ 13-yard touchdown reception.
Down 20-13 with 2:11 left in the fourth, Edwards connected with Haughton for a 40-yard touchdown pass, but the attempted 2-point conversion for the win was unsuccessful.
With a long summer ahead, Maryland will prepare for its 2023 season opener at home against Locksley’s alma mater Towson.
“I expect the guys and the culture within that locker room to put the necessary work in for us to be ready to go on September 2nd,” said Locksley.
Feature photo by Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse