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Fleck says 'unacceptable' defense, loss "a pill we're going to swallow"

Maryland's offense torched Minnesota Friday night with a record-setting performance from a sophomore-transfer quarterback and a redshirt-senior running back who had just returned this season from a torn ACL.

The Terps got 394 passing yards from Taulia Tagovailoa and 221 rushing yards from Jake Funk – the first time in school history the program had a 300-yard passer and 200-yard rusher in a captivating, 45-44 win Friday night at home against Minnesota in overtime.

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck neither blamed his team's missed extra point in the bonus session nor minced words when he assessed what Maryland did to a Minnesota defense that replaced seven starters from 2019's 11-win squad.

“It's unacceptable with that many yards, and that many explosive plays,” Fleck said. “There's gotta be a lot of accountability that goes around and it starts with me. This is the way we're going to build our program. It's going to be a developmental program. We'll continue to do that.”

Fleck emphasized his team would not ignore this meltdown, when it erased a 21-7 lead with 31 unanswered points for what seemed to be a commanding, 38-21 fourth-quarter edge.

“These are the ones you remember, the hard ones to swallow,” Fleck said. “But I told them, we are going to swallow this pill. We're not going to ignore it. We're not going to run away from it. We're going to embrace it and we're going to get better from it and we're going to learn.”

Additionally, Fleck pointed to a number of plays and not Brock Walker's missed extra point in overtime as the crumbling foundation in a loss that left the Gophers a surprising 0-2.

“Well, I just told Brock that I love him,” Fleck said. “Listen, he's done a great job. That is not the reason why we lost this football game. There's plenty of blame to go around and plenty of plays to go around. That's not the reason why we lost the game.”