Instant reactions: Maryland 13, Nebraska 10

It was far from pretty, but Maryland did just enough to pull off its first win against Nebraska and sixth win of the season after defeating the Huskers, 13-10, on a last-second field goal to secure bowl eligibility Maryland has now clinched bowl eligibility for the third consecutive season, the first time the program has done so since 2006-08. Head coach Mike Locksley is the fourth Maryland coach to lead a team to bowl in three consecutive seasons, joining Jerry Claiborne (1973-78) Bobby Ross (1982-85) and Ralph Friedgen (2001-03, 2006-08). Breaking down our instant reactions:

Nebraska takes control during the ‘middle eight’

Head coach Mike Locksley has made it no secret that in a perfect world, the Terps look to close the first half with a scoring opportunity while opening the second half with the ball.

Maryland nearly did so after its first score of the game on a drive that featured Tai Felton, first on a 53-yard catch then 16-yard catch-and-run into the endzone. With Jeff Sims under center, Nebraska would drive into Maryland territory in the final minute before Tarheeb Still came down with an interception in the endzone, the second interception by Maryland’s defense on the day.

With three timeouts, Maryland would stay aggressive and a 43-yard throw to Jeshaun Jones gave the Terps last-second ammo but that came to a screeching halt when the Terps were called for their seventh penalty of the half. TE Corey Dyches, who took a hit which could be ruled as potential targeting, was called for unsportsmanlike conduct despite OL Corey Bullock tossing a light post-snap shove that pushed the offense out of field goal range.

After Nebraska won and deferred the opening kickoff, the Terps’ defense was able to force the Huskers to its second punt of the day but gave all momentum right back after Felton’s fumble on Maryland’s first play from scrimmage gave Nebraska the ball back right outside the redzone. Six plays and 27 yards later, Maryland found themselves in a tie game after an end-around found success on the edge.

The offense would have a chance to redeem itself on the next series, but after Taulia did well evading edge pressure, his deflected 3rd down pass led to his first interception and Terps’ second giveaway that Nebraska, once again, turned into points. Maryland’s defense was able to mitigate the turnovers by forcing a field goal, but the middle stretch of the game that Maryland has routinely cited as a crucial turning point in games was when the Terps had the game slip away.

Turnovers galore, but Maryland’s defense steps up

On a day when Maryland finished with ten penalties for 92 yards, the theme of the game was turnovers as the two teams combined for eight turnovers. Taulia’s interception and Tai Felton’s fumble were only two of Maryland’s three turnovers in Saturday’s win as RB Roman Hemby coughed up the ball inside the Nebraska five on a potential go-ahead scoring chance.

Luckily for Maryland, the Terps still won the turnover battle after taking advantage of a subpar Husker quarterback room. Maryland’s five takeaways ties its season-high, which was done in the week four win vs. Michigan State, while producing a season-high four interceptions in the win.

The Terps’ final takeaway loomed largest as Maryland’s worst nightmare appeared to inch closer to reality just minutes before. After Hemby’s fumble, Nebraska went 90-yards to set themselves up for the go-ahead score until Tarheeb Still jumped a throw in the endzone, coming down with his second pick of the day.

Still and Dante Trader Jr. both finished with two interceptions each on a day that Nebraska saw starter Heinrich Haarberg leave (injury) and Jeff Sims (apparent benching) take the field before Chubba Purdy closed out the game.

Maryland’s defense was also able to hold Nebraska’s defense to a fourth-down stop with just over three minutes remaining, setting up the Terps’ drive for the game’s first score. The Huskers entered Saturday with the run game a clear strength and on Saturday, Nebraska turned to its ground game racking up 183 yards and one touchdown on 40 attempts while allowing just two big plays through the air. The Huskers posed little threat through the air heading into the matchup, and for a Husker team that holds the worst turnover differential among Power Five teams, Maryland made Nebraska consistently pay through the air.

Maryland capitalizes on the final drive for game-winning FG

Maryland turned Nebraska’s five turnovers into ten points, but it was the game’s final drive that proved to be the difference.

Starting at their own 19, Tai Felton helped the offense move the sticks after drawing a defensive pass interference downfield before Roman Hemby tallied 11 yards on three consecutive rushes. After Preston Howard came down with a quick completion, Roman Hemby found space outside for a 21-yard run to put the Terps in field goal position. Consecutive completions to Corey Dyches then Jeshaun Jones set the Terps up at the Nebraska 10, eventually setting Jack Howes up for the game-winning 24-yard field goal.

The final drive proved evidence of Maryland’s surprise on offense as the rushing attack helped alleviate the pressure off the passing game with all 101 rushing yards coming in the second half. While the unforced errors and penalties still loomed large, the drops cut back as Taulia Tagovailoa finished 27-of-40 with 283 yards along with one touchdown, completing at least one pass to nine different players. Though the usual suspects led the way as Felton, Jeshaun Jones and Corey Dyches each finished with five catches in the win, the late balance offensively helped set up the game’s final score.


  • Taulia Tagovailoa now has 10,648 career passing yards, moving to sixth in Big Ten history and 13 yards behind Sean Clifford (Penn St)
  • Jeshaun Jones now moves into a tie for sixth in career receptions (86), passing Frank Wycheck and tied with Darrius Heyward-Bey. Jones is also ninth in career receiving yards (1860).
  • Maryland has now won 16 consecutive games when allowing 20 points or less
  • Corey Dyches has caught a pass in 23 consecutive games
  • Taulia Tagovailoa has thrown a touchdown pass in consecutive games
  • DJ Glaze has started 27 consecutive games
  • Maryland held an opponent scoreless for the first time since last season’s regular-season finale win vs. Rutgers
  • Brenden Segovia made his college debut with Colton Spangler sidelined

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