EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Brendan Sullivan threw two touchdown passes, passed for 265 yards, and added 56 on the ground as Northwestern defeated Maryland 33-27 on Saturday.
Maryland was without a key assistant coach. Co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin was arrested in Florida on Oct. 22 on suspicion of driving while under the influence and was not with the Terrapins on Saturday.
Trailing 27-17 early in the third quarter, Maryland was held to a field goal after a 12-play, 38-yard drive. With the Northwestern defense holding its own, Sullivan helped secure the lead by scrambling in the pocket and finding A.J Henning for a 34-yard catch up the left seam, setting up a 19-yard field goal from Jack Olsen that put Northwestern ahead 30-20 with 9:19 left.
After another stop by the Northwestern defense, Sullivan connected with Joseph Himon II for a 53-yard catch and run to set up another field goal by Olsen to extend the lead to 33-20 with 5:03 left.
Terps quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa then engineered a quick 4-play 61-yard, scoring drive, capping it off with an 18-yard touchdown reception to Jeshaun Jones with 3:42 left. Maryland’s defense finally held the Northwestern offense to a three-and-out and Tagovailoa was threatening with a game-ending winning drive but was picked off by Coca Azema at the Northwestern 8-yard line.
Tagovailoa threw for 274 yards and three touchdown passes. He was sacked six times, including a costly fumble in the first quarter that led to a Northwestern touchdown.
Sullivan displayed great chemistry with senior wide receiver Bryce Kirtz. They hooked up with a 24-yard pass and then a 23-yard touchdown pass.
Sullivan was 12 of 14 for 159 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in the first half and Tagovailoa was 15 of 22 for 172 yards with two touchdown passes.
Northwestern: The Wildcats came into the game with only one touchdown in the previous six quarters. Sullivan, making his third straight start for the injured Ben Bryant (upper body injury), showed a complete grasp of the offense and may have secured the QB1 job going forward.
Maryland: The Terrapins started the season 5-0 and led Ohio State 17-10 in the second quarter, but gave up 27 unanswered points to the Buckeyes, and lost to a winless Big Ten Illinois team before the bye.
The Wildcats will host Iowa at Wrigley Field on Saturday.