The Maryland football team showcased its potential future during the Music City Bowl in Nashville. With their starting quarterback unavailable, the team turned to redshirt sophomore Billy Edwards Jr. to lead the way. Despite some hiccups, Edwards accounted for 176 yards of total offense and directed touchdowns on his first two series, ultimately helping Maryland secure a 31-13 victory over Auburn. This win marked the team's third consecutive bowl victory and their third consecutive winning season, a feat not achieved since 2001 to 2003.
Edwards, who was voted Maryland's MVP, stepped up in place of Taulia Tagovailoa, the Big Ten's all-time passing leader. Tagovailoa opted out of the game to focus on the NFL draft. Edwards, a transfer from Wake Forest, made the most of his opportunity by rushing for one touchdown and passing for another. He was supported by Cameron Edge, the third-string quarterback, who also had a chance to lead a touchdown drive.
Throughout the game, Maryland's defense was strong, forcing four turnovers, including a crucial interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Glendon Miller. The defense's performance, combined with Edwards' solid play, allowed the team to secure a comfortable lead and ultimately the win.
Coach Michael Locksley was pleased with Edwards' performance, as well as the overall growth he witnessed from his young players. Locksley plans to hold an open competition for the starting quarterback role next season, giving Edwards and other quarterbacks a chance to showcase their skills.
The game also highlighted the depth of Maryland's roster, with multiple players stepping up in the absence of key contributors. Despite the challenges, the team delivered an impressive performance and came away with the victory.
Looking ahead, this bowl win serves as a valuable experience for the team and a preview of what's to come in the next season. Coach Locksley sees it as an opportunity for continued development and a chance to finish the current season on a high note.