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Brendan Sullivan, Northwestern hold off Maryland

brendan-sullivan,-northwestern-hold-off-maryland

Brendan Sullivan threw for a career-high 265 yards including two touchdowns to propel Northwestern to a 33-27 Big Ten victory over Maryland on Saturday in Evanston, Ill.

Sullivan completed 16 of 23 passes without an interception as Northwestern (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) improved to 2-1 with the junior as the starting quarterback. Sullivan also carried 14 times for 56 yards to lead the Wildcats in rushing.

Cam Porter added two touchdowns and kicker Jack Olsen had a perfect afternoon, hitting all four of his field-goal attempts and going 3-for-3 on extra points.

It was the third straight loss for Maryland (5-3, 2-3), which led 14-7 in the first quarter before Northwestern scored the next 17 points to take a lead it would not relinquish.

The Terps rallied late behind Taulia Tagovailoa, who threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jeshaun Jones to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 33-27 with 3:42 left.

But with Maryland threatening again, Coco Azema made a sliding interception to wrap up the win with 1:25 left.

Tagovailoa finished with 30 completions in 47 attempts for 274 yards and three touchdowns, but his interception and a first-half fumble were costly.

The Terps outgained the Wildcats 391-364 and had more first downs, 25-19. But the Wildcats’ defense came up with several clutch plays.

Aidan Hubbard registered three of the Wildcats’ six sacks. In the fourth quarter, R.J. Pearson had a sack which ended a Maryland drive that had reached midfield.

On fourth-and-goal at the Northwestern 1 in the second quarter, Xander Mueller extinguished a Maryland threat when he tipped a Tagovailoa pass that fluttered incomplete.

After receiving the opening kickoff, Maryland needed just five plays to drive 66 yards for a touchdown, an 8-yard scoring pass from Tagovailoa to Tai Felton.

But on the Terps’ next possession, as he attempted to pass, Tagovailoa lost the ball and Bryce Gallagher recovered the fumble at the Maryland 18. Three plays later, Porter scored on a 1-yard plunge to tie it up.

Maryland went back up, 14-7, as Roman Hemby caught a screen pass and ran 24 yards for a touchdown.

Northwestern followed with a 17-point run as Sullivan threw two touchdown passes.

Azema also had a 61-yard kickoff return to open the second half, which set up a field goal.

Joseph Himon II turned a short pass into a 53-yard gain in the fourth quarter which also set up a field goal. A.J. Henning’s diving 34-yard reception set up another 3-pointer in the period.

–Field Level Media

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