Maryland football closed out Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium with a statement win. The Terps dominated SMU in the second half to earn an impressive 34-27 victory. Maryland freshman running back Roman Hemby continued his strong start with 16 carries for 213 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. Junior defensive back Beau Brade’s second-quarter interception seemingly provided a jolt of confidence for the Terps to carry out of halftime.
With the game even at 27, Maryland star junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa would take advantage of another turnover for the Mustangs. With fewer than eight minutes remaining in the final quarter, Tagovailoa used a run-pass-option to force the defense to converge on Hemby. Once the defense crashed hard to stop Hemby, Tagovailoa tossed a short pass to redshirt sophomore Corey Dyches, who snagged the ball with one hand before racing to the end zone for the game-winning five-yard touchdown.
Maryland moves to 3-0 on the season. Next up, they will travel to Ann Arbor for a Saturday clash with the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines.
Big Ten teams had a total record of 9-4 this week, highlighted by statement victories and a few deflating losses. Here’s what stood out from this weekend.
Biggest surprise: Southern Illinois vs. Northwestern
Northwestern welcomed Southern Illinois to Ryan Field, as the Wildcats looked to avoid a two-game losing streak.
Southern Illinois looked to secure its first victory of the season after inconsistent play in the weeks prior.
Northwestern junior quarterback Ryan Hilinski got the Wildcats on the board first with a few minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Hilinski ran in a one-yard touchdown after leading a 14-play, 88-yard drive that almost lasted six minutes. The touchdown gave Northwestern an early 7-0 advantage.
Southern Illinois quarterback Nic Baker started the second quarter strong by launching a 57-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Tyce Daniel to even the score at seven.
Northwestern junior running back Evan Hull set his blockers up perfectly to score a late second-quarter touchdown to give the Wildcats a 14-7 advantage.
The Wildcats received their usual contributions from the talented Hull. He recorded 33 touches for 157 total yards and one touchdown.
Before heading into the locker room for halftime, Southern Illinois forced an interception, giving the offense great field position to tie the game.
Baker found junior fullback Jacob Garrett in the seams for an 18-yard touchdown to even the game at 14.
Heading into the fourth quarter tied at 17, Baker found Garrett for his second touchdown of the day, giving Southern Illinois the 24-17 advantage.
With fewer than six minutes remaining in regulation, Southern Illinois extended its lead to 31-17 on a one-yard score by Baker.
Northwestern chipped the lead to seven on a three-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Malik Washington, but it wasn't enough.
Southern Illinois earned a 31-24 road victory over a Northwestern team that has been reeling lately.
Statement game: SMU vs. Maryland
The Terps welcomed the SMU Mustangs to College Park for a Saturday night matchup of two undefeated teams.
Maryland was coming off a decisive 56-21 victory over Charlotte last week that saw Tagovailoa shred the defense for 391 yards and a career-high four passing touchdowns.
Many people considered SMU’s offensive explosiveness a threat to dethrone Maryland in front of its home crowd.
With a 6-3 lead in the second quarter, quarterback Tanner Mordecai found RJ Maryland over the middle for a 51-yard touchdown to extend SMU’s lead to 13-3.
The Terps responded with an 11-play, 65-yard drive capped off by a one-yard scamper by redshirt freshman running back Antwain Littleton II. The touchdown trimmed SMU’s advantage to 13-10.
On the ensuing possession, Brade intercepted a pass that instantly shifted momentum before halftime.
Tagovailoa trotted back on the field and found star junior wide receiver Rakim Jarrett on a deep crossing route for a 48-yard touchdown along the left sideline. Jarrett’s score gave Maryland a 17-13 lead.
Mordecai responded by finding senior wide receiver Austin Upshaw for a 13-yard touchdown to reclaim a 20-17 lead.
SMU senior wide receiver Rashee Rice put on a show Saturday night with 11 catches for 193 yards. Rice ran precise routes and separated effortlessly from Maryland defensive backs.
After a 41-yard Maryland field goal evened the game at 20, Mordecai found sophomore wide receiver, Moochie Dixon, for a seven-yard touchdown on a perfectly executed fade route.
Hemby’s one-yard touchdown seconds into the fourth quarter tied the game at 27, with minutes left to determine the outcome.
Tagovailoa led his team on a short 10-play, 46-yard game-winning drive that culminated in Dyches finding his way into the end zone for the five-yard touchdown. Dyches’ score sent Maryland to a 3-0 record with its nonconference schedule in the rearview and Big Ten play on the horizon.
Upset game: No. 11 Michigan State vs. Washington
The No. 11 Michigan State Spartans made the cross-country trip for a prime-time matchup of unbeatens against the Washington Huskies.
Many believed the Spartans were capable of making a run to this year’s College Football Playoff, but those odds shifted after its early season loss to Washington on Saturday night.
Washington looked determined to pull off the upset, as it marched down the field on the opening drive, capped off with junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. finding redshirt freshman wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk for an eight-yard touchdown on a slant route. Polk’s touchdown gave Washington an early 7-0 lead.
With fewer than two minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Michigan State was backed up in its own territory. The raucous crowd at Husky Stadium hoped to force an inopportune turnover to get the ball back to its offense.
The Huskies benefited by Michigan State senior running back Jarek Broussard slipping in the end zone and touched him down to earn a safety. Washington took a 9-0 advantage after the first 15 minutes.
Washington enjoyed great performances by Penix Jr. and Polk, as the former went 24-of-40 for 397 yards and four touchdowns. The southpaw quarterback threw the ball with pinpoint accuracy and connected with Polk for six receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
Michigan State attempted to get back into the game behind a valiant performance by junior quarterback Payton Thorne. The preseason Maxwell Award nominee went 30-of-42 for 323 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Thorne led three second-half scoring drives to cut Washington’s lead to two possessions in one of the most surprising games of the weekend, but it didn’t matter.
A 29-8 lead at the half gave Washington a cushion to grind out a 39-28 victory over No. 11 Michigan State.
Despite Washington being favored by slightly more than a field goal, given Michigan State’s ranking, the result was still a surprise to many.