Behind its defense’s second-half dominance, Maryland football escapes SMU, 34-27

On a essential fourth down from the 9-yard line with lower than three minutes remaining, everyone within the soon-to-be-renamed Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium knew the place the ball was going.

SMU’s sensational senior large receiver Rashee Rice — who had a whopping 11 receptions for 193 yards — lined up on the suitable facet of the sector. He slanted throughout the center of the sector, and senior quarterback Tanner Mordecai, realizing his crew wanted a landing to maintain their hopes alive, flung a go to his most-trusted goal.

With the sport on the road, Maryland junior defensive again Beau Brade leapt within the air and defended the go, forcing an incompletion and sealing a 34-27 win for the Terps of their ultimate nonconference sport of the 2022 season.

Saturday night time’s sport was a showdown of two prolific offenses, but it surely took quarter-hour earlier than their efficiency was proven.

After Maryland’s protection pressured a cease, redshirt freshman working again Roman Hemby broke off a 50-yard rush that instantly set the Terps up in SMU territory. However, a essential third-down false begin penalty by redshirt junior offensive lineman Mason Lunsford pressured Maryland to accept a 36-yard discipline purpose by senior kicker Chad Ryland.

Mustangs freshman kicker Collin Rogers responded by splitting the uprights twice within the span of 71 seconds — the second of which was arrange by a fumble on a kickoff return by Maryland sophomore large receiver Tai Felton.

The first quarter ended with SMU main 6-3, and it seemed just like the anticipated shootout between the 2 groups was off. That did not final lengthy.

On the opening play of the second quarter, Mordecai discovered freshman tight finish RJ Maryland large open in the midst of the sector, and he walked his method into the top zone bearing the flag of his namesake.

With redshirt junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa struggling by the sport’s first 20 minutes, the Terps wanted to discover a approach to spark their offense. Playing by their working backs proved to be a viable choice.

The trio of Hemby, sophomore Colby McDonald and redshirt freshman Antwain Littleton II mixed for 49 yards on Maryland’s subsequent drive, with Littleton leaping into the top zone for the primary Maryland landing of the night time, making it 13-10 in favor of SMU with 5 :43 to go within the half.

Littleton is the primary Maryland working again with 4 touchdowns within the crew’s first three video games of a season since Anthony McFarland had 5 in 2019.

Now down simply three, the ball was in Maryland’s defense’s court docket to get a cease and supply the offense with a possibility to retake the lead.

Luckily for the Terps, Mordecai overthrew his meant goal, and the ball fell proper into the arms of a ready Brade. The junior defensive again’s interception was the primary giveaway pressured by a Maryland protection that emphasised successful the turnover battle all offseason.

Tagovailoa took benefit of Maryland’s newfound momentum, lofting a go deep downfield and discovering junior large receiver Rakim Jarrett for a 48-yard landing. The catch was Jarrett’s first contact of the sport.

SMU’s high-powered offense wasn’t going to let the Terps get the final rating of the half, although. Mordecai marched the Mustangs down the sector for a seven-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a 13-yard landing go to senior large receiver Austin Upshaw. At halftime, SMU led 20-17.

To begin the third quarter, the Terps simply moved their method right into a goal-to-go state of affairs, however a complete of 4 offensive penalties led to a 41-yard discipline purpose by Ryland — the twentieth straight kick he is made — night the rating at 20

The penalties — Maryland had 5 within the first half — continued to pile on throughout the ensuing SMU drive. The Terps had been flagged 3 times for a complete of 41 yards, bringing the Mustangs inside 12 yards of taking the lead.

When it wanted to be essentially the most, the Terps’ protection buckled up and made an enormous play. On a primary down following a go interference name on redshirt junior defensive again Deonte Banks, Mordecai scrambled and rushed in direction of the top zone. But, he was stuffed by freshman defensive again Gavin Gibson and Brade got here swooping in, forcing the ball free and producing Maryland’s second turnover of the day.

However, a fast three-and-out gave SMU nice discipline place, and it made essentially the most of it. Extended by a fourth-and-9 conversion full to Rice, Mordecai related with sophomore wideout Moochie Dixon close to the far proper pylon for a landing, giving the Mustangs a seven-point lead midway by the third quarter.

SMU was gifted a possibility to widen its lead when McDonald fumbled close to midfield, however a 49-yard discipline purpose try by Rogers veered method off to the left and was no good.

Hemby continued his explosive efficiency because the third quarter got here to an in depth, tallying 53 yards on a drive that was punctuated by a 1-yard rush for his first go to to the top zone of the night time and tying the sport at 27 because the fourth quarter started .

He completed with a complete of 213 yards — 151 speeding and 62 receiving.

Once once more, a 1-yard speeding landing led to a subsequent Mordecai overthrow and interception. This time it was Brade’s fellow security, sophomore Dante Trader Jr., that got here up with the choose.

Another interception led to a different passing landing from Tagovailoa, who dropped a go off to redshirt sophomore Corey Dyches for a five-yard rating, giving Maryland a 34-27 lead midway by the ultimate interval of play.

After the Terps stopped the Mustangs on their subsequent drive, that they had a possibility to ice the sport with a primary down. SMU pressured a punt by senior Colton Spangler, although, and received the ball on their very own 40-yard line.

The Mustangs solely made it 9 yards, and the Terps received a gutsy 34-27 win of their ultimate nonconference sport of the season.

The Terps will start Big Ten play subsequent week, touring to Ann Arbor to tackle the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines at midday on Saturday.

Three issues to know

1. A scarcity of self-discipline but once more. The Terps had been flagged 15 instances for 141 yards Saturday night time, persevering with a pattern of giving freely free yards to opponents in key moments. They had been in a position to overcome their errors in opposition to SMU, however that will not be replicable because the season continues. If the Terps do not clear up their play quickly, they might discover themselves in main holes in opposition to Big Ten opponents.

2. Beau Brade was the most effective participant on Maryland’s protection. Brade was a person on a mission in opposition to the Mustangs’ pass-heavy offense, making a team-high 15 tackles and forcing two turnovers. His play was a brilliant spot in a Maryland secondary that was comparatively ineffective Saturday night time. Brade — and Trader — seemed paying homage to Nick Cross and Jordan Mosely, final 12 months’s starters who departed within the offseason.

3. Roman Hemby was electrical within the working and passing video games. Hemby had an unimaginable sport in opposition to SMU, tallying a career-high 213 complete yards of offense. He was efficient out of the backfield as a rusher but in addition made key performs within the passing sport, changing into a dependable goal for Tagovailoa when he wanted one. If his stage of play continues the way in which it has by the primary three video games of the season, Maryland’s offense is as harmful as any within the Big Ten.

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