Edwards runs, throws for a TD as Maryland routs Auburn 31-13 at Music City Bowl

Saturday, December 30, 2023 | 9:19 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Michael Locksley has been at Maryland long enough to know that his Terrapins have to earn everything. The transfer portal along with name, image and likeness deals have made the challenge tougher.

So Maryland showed Saturday the best answer comes on the field.

Billy Edwards Jr. ran for a touchdown and threw for a score as Maryland routed Auburn, 31-13, at the Music City Bowl winning a program record third straight bowl.

“Three straight bowl wins, back-to-back eight-win seasons,” Locksley said. “It’s not easy to do here.”

Maryland (8-5) hadn’t even played three consecutive bowls since 2006-08, and the Terps added this victory to their win over Virginia Tech at the Pinstripe Bowl and last year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl win over N.C. State.

The Terrapins hadn’t played an SEC team in a bowl since routing Tennessee, 30-3, in the 2002 Peach Bowl. This game essentially was over before the end of the first quarter, even without Taulia Tagovailoa, the Big Ten’s passing leader this season who opted out for the NFL Draft.

Auburn (6-7) ended coach Hugh Freeze’s first season back in the SEC losing three straight. The Tigers also lost a fourth straight bowl and their first in three appearances in this bowl.

“I don’t need anyone to tell me that we don’t measure up, and that starts with me,” Freeze said.

Maryland dominated from the opening snap, taking a 21-0 lead as the Terrapins outgained Auburn, 226-13, within the first 12 minutes. The Terrapins also forced four turnovers, keyed by Glendon Miller’s 44-yard pick-6.

“I ran for my life,” Miller said while wearing sunglasses postgame as part of his NIL deal.

Roman Hemby took Edwards’s short pass 61 yards, and Edwards capped the opening drive with a 2-yard TD run. After Maryland right tackle Gottlieb Ayedze recovered a fumble on the next drive, Edwards ran for 17 yards before throwing a 5-yard TD pass to Preston Howard for a 14-0 lead.

“They honestly went by very fast,” Edwards said of the first two drives.

Locksley alternated quarterbacks as promised, and Cameron Edge keyed a 76-yard drive with a 57-yard pass to Kaden Prather before hitting Dylan Wade with a 3-yard TD toss for the 21-0 lead with 3:24 left in the first quarter.

Payton Thorne got Auburn on the board capping a 14-play drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Brandon Frazier with 2:34 left in the first half.

Freshman Hank Brown did his best to make it interesting late in his collegiate debut. He set up Jeremiah Cobb’s 1-yard run in the fourth with a 53-yard pass to Caleb Burton, and another late drive ended on a turnover on downs at the Maryland 15.

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