LINCOLN, Neb. — Jack Howes made a 24-yard field goal as time ran out to lift Maryland to a 13-10 win over Nebraska on Saturday.
Maryland’s victory, its first since late September, snapped a four-game losing streak and made the Terrapins (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) bowl eligible. Nebraska (5-5, 3-4) dropped its second straight game and must win one of its last two to play in a bowl for the first time since 2016.
“This feeling is not like anything else in sports,” Howes said after his first game-winning kick since high school. “I kind of missed it for a little bit, but I’m glad it’s back.”
Nebraska turned the ball over on three consecutive fourth-quarter possessions, the final one Tarheeb Still’s interception of No. 3 quarterback Chubba Purdy in the end zone with 3:37 left. That set up Maryland’s 12-play, 75-yard winning drive.
“The last drive, I think, we played very smart, running the ball,” Terps quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa said. “We had a lot of time on the clock and just being conscious of the time. The O-line working their butts off. It just kept punching and kept working. They really did the job for us.”
The last-second win, Maryland coach Michael Locksley said, was a result of perseverance.
“They found a way to get it done and fought through some adversity because it wasn’t pretty today,” he said. “Our offense made plays when we needed to make plays. Our quarterback did a tremendous job on that last drive and put us in position to go win it.
“I can’t give enough credit to our defense. They created a bunch of turnovers. They kept playing with their back against the wall, and when we needed them to get us the ball back they got us the ball back”
Maryland players described the postgame locker-room atmosphere as euphoric. For Nebraska, the feeling was the opposite.
“For it to go back and forth like that and have the ball at the end with a chance to take the lead with three minutes left, and to have that interception happen, to turn around and have a big run and a pass interference on third-and-long — obviously extremely disappointing,” Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said.
All of Nebraska’s turnovers were forced by the Terrapins secondary, which came into Saturday’s game focused on takeaways.
“The last games we haven’t played as well defensively as we want to,” said defensive back Dante Trader Jr., who had a pair of picks. “This week, coaches told us to get back to the standard. It’s all in the fine detail that we’re trying to do to win games. You’ve got to get takeaways, to go out there and do what we did.”
Purdy, the younger brother of San Francisco 49er quarterback Brock Purdy, came into the game after No. 2 quarterback Jeff Sims’ fumble was turned into a Maryland field goal that tied the game at 10.
Sims’ second turnover, an interception, set the Terrapins up to take the lead. But Roman Hemby gave it back to Nebraska with a fumble on the 3-yard line.
Purdy drove the Huskers 90 yards to the Maryland 7-yard line before throwing the interception.
Maryland got the game’s only first-half score. After stopping Nebraska on fourth down late in the second quarter, the Terps struck quickly with a pair of Tagovailoa passes to Tai Felton, the first a 53-yard shot down the middle, and the second a 16-yarder down the sideline for a touchdown.
Nebraska got on the board early in the third quarter, when, after recovering a Maryland fumble at the Terps 27, the Huskers ran six straight times. Fullback Janiran Bonner went 2 yards around right end for the score.
After picking off Tagovailoa on the first play of Maryland’s next possession, Nebraska failed to move the ball. The Cornhuskers took the lead on a 38-yard Tristan Alvano field goal.
Maryland appeared to be on its way to answering the Nebraska score, marching 58 yards. But the Huskes stuffed Antwain Littleton on a fourth-and-1 run at the NU 17.
Tagovailoa passed for 283 yards with one interception. Nebraska’s three quarterbacks, including starter Heinrich Haarberg, who left the game with an injury, were 10-for-21 for 86 yards with four interceptions.
The Terrapins, who had 101 yards on the ground, were the second team to rush for more than 100 yards against the Nebraska defense this season.
Maryland: The Terps committed multiple turnovers for the fifth consecutive game. Those turnovers led to all 10 Nebraska points. The Terrapins committed only three turnovers total during their five-game winning streak to open the season.
Nebraska: Nebraska has an FBS-high 27 turnovers and a minus-14 turnover margin.