Maryland might have ailing QB Taulia Tagovailoa vs. Northwestern

As Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa held his knee, writhing in pain before being carted off the field, the logical conclusion was the Terrapins had seen the last of their standout quarterback.

But good news came Tuesday as the team revealed that Tagovailoa has a strained MCL and will be a game-time decision Saturday when Maryland hosts Big Ten foe Northwestern in College Park, Md.

If Tagovailoa can’t go, Billy Edwards Jr. will get the nod. The prospect of starting the redshirt freshman might have been frightening for the Terps (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) early this year. But the work Edwards did Saturday in relief of Tagovailoa indicates he might be ready for a starting assignment.

When Edwards, a transfer from Wake Forest, entered in the fourth quarter last week at Indiana, Maryland was down by three points. But he directed back-to-back touchdown drives to rally Maryland to a 38-33 win.

“Tremendous confidence in Billy,” Maryland coach Mike Locksley said. “We recruited him here once he went into the portal just for this purpose.”

While Maryland enters the game hoping to clinch bowl eligibility for the second straight year, Northwestern (1-5, 1-2 Big Ten) is just looking for a win. The Wildcats have lost five straight after an encouraging opening-game victory over Nebraska.

Northwestern is coming off a well-timed bye, which followed its worst performance of the year, a 42-7 thumping at home from Wisconsin. The Wildcats’ defense surrendered 515 yards and didn’t create a turnover.

At minus-0.6, Northwestern has the worst turnover margin in the Big Ten.

“Taking care of the ball, that’s been our biggest issue by far,” Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It’s something we work on every day. It’s something that we preach. We just got to get it done on Saturday.”

Running back Evan Hull leads Northwestern in rushing with 428 yards and receiving with 405.

–Field Level Media