By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Taulia Tagovailoa threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Corey Dyches with 7:30 remaining, and Maryland held on for a 34-27 victory over SMU on Saturday night.
Roman Hemby ran for 151 yards and a touchdown for the Terrapins, who overcame 15 penalties to win this matchup of flawed-but-unbeaten teams. The Mustangs (2-1) had three of the game’s five turnovers, and they lost the ball on downs at the Maryland 9 when Tanner Mordecai’s fourth-down pass to the end zone sailed high with 2:31 remaining.
SMU got the ball back one more time but turned it over on downs again near midfield with 46 seconds left.
“We did not play our best football today. Let’s make no mistake about it. A lot of errors, a lot of penalties, a lot of turnovers,” Maryland coach Michael Locksley said. “But it was against a really, really good team. … To find a way to win, we needed a game like that.”
Maryland trailed 20-17 at halftime, and the Terrapins (3-0) wasted an opportunity early in the third quarter after driving to the SMU 6. A touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Jeshaun Jones was wiped out by a holding penalty, and Jones was also called for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting Maryland in a third-and-goal situation back at the 31.
The Terps did manage a field goal to tie the game, but on SMU’s next drive, they were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing the passer and pass interference. A fumble by Mordecai inside the Maryland 5 ended that drive.
“I think Ray Charles could see he was down, but you have to hold onto the football,” SMU coach Rhett Lashlee said. “You have to hold onto the football.”
The Mustangs quickly forced a punt and then took a 27-20 lead on a 7-yard scoring pass from Mordecai to Moochie Dixon.
SMU then got the ball back near midfield after a Maryland fumble, but a missed field goal kept the lead at seven, and the Terps drove to tie it on a 1-yard run by Hemby.
After an interception by Dante Trader, Maryland had a chance to take the lead. The Terrapins went for it on fourth-and-9 from the SMU 45. Dyches caught a pass a couple yards short, but he dragged linebacker Jimmy Phillips across the line to gain. Moments later, his TD made it 34-27.
SMU led 13-3 in the second quarter after a 51-yard TD strike from Mordecai to RJ Maryland. Antwaine Littleton scored on a 1-yard run for the Terps, and after Mordecai threw an interception, Tagovailoa found Rakim Jarrett for a 48-yard touchdown to put Maryland momentarily ahead.
Mordecai’s 13-yard TD pass to Austin Upshaw put SMU back in front with 2:42 left in the half.
SMU: The Mustangs rolled up 518 yards of offense, but SMU’s turnovers were awfully costly. This ends the Mustangs’ streak of three straight seasons starting at least 5-0.
Maryland: The Terrapins had far too many mistakes, and the penalties in particular will catch up to them if they’re not careful. But Hemby has been impressive this season, and Maryland showed it can move the ball quickly.
SMU: The Mustangs host local rival TCU next Saturday.
Maryland: The Terps play their Big Ten opener at No. 4 Michigan.
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