Auburn football defense reacts to Taulia Tagovailoa's bowl opt-out

Auburn football defensive players react to the news that the Maryland Terrapins will be without their starting quarterback in the Music City Bowl.

Nov 25, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3)
Nov 25, 2023; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Auburn football defensive players react to the news that the Maryland Terrapins will be without their starting quarterback in the Music City Bowl.

The Auburn football team will head to Nashville at the end of this month to take on the Maryland Terrapins in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, which will be played at Nissan Stadium. The Tigers accomplished a major goal of head coach Hugh Freeze by becoming bowl-eligible, and he mentioned earlier this month he wants the players to enjoy it.

Practice for the bowl game began over the weekend, and is expected to go on hiatus for the winter holidays beginnig this Friday, December 22. Until then, the Tigers' defense will be working to adjust to a curveball thrown by the Terrapins.

Maryland's starting quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa (younger brother of Alabama quarterback Tua), announced he will opt-out of the bowl game in order to prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Now, Ron Roberts' defense will have to prepare for the other quarterbacks on Maryland's roster. For Jalen McLeod, there is one goal no matter who the QB is, per Auburn Undercover:

“It doesn't matter who's back there, but at the same time, he was a huge part of their offense,” McLeod said. “Big Ten all-time leader yards. It's going to change a little bit, but we've still got to get after the quarterback no matter what. Now, we know it's not Taulia, but we know he's not back there. So we've got to get more pressure, make sure — because I know he's not as good as him — but still, we've got to be ready to play.”

The other quarterback options for the Terrapins are Cameron Edge and Billy Edwards. Edge has two complete passes for 18 yards this season, and Edwards has four complete passes for two yards. Maryland and Auburn football will kickoff from Nashville at 1:00 p.m. central time on December 30.