College Park, Md. — Indiana found itself in an early 21-3 hole, and at that point Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson figured his team’s best chance to beat Maryland was in a shootout.
“I told the offense we’ve got to score 100,” Wilson recalled afterward.
Turns out nearly half that total was plenty enough, as Nate Sudfeld threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns Saturday to rally Indiana to 47-28 victory, its first this season in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers (5-6, 1-6) trailed 21-3 before scoring three touchdowns in a span of four minutes, 33 seconds. It was 30-21 at halftime, and Sudfeld’s fourth TD pass made it 44-28 early in the third quarter.
Quite by coincidence, Wilson drew up a scenario before the game that mirrored what actually happened.
“I did make a comment to the team at the hotel this morning, that if it was 28-3 we’re up or 21-3 we’re down, we’ve got to keep playing,” he said. “I would have preferred the other choice, being up 28-3, but I guess they took the other advice and wanted to go down.”
It wasn’t a problem.
“There was still a lot of ball to play. We weren’t nervous of anything,” receiver Simmie Cobbs said.
Sudfeld went 23 for 35 and also ran for a score. Cobbs caught nine passes for 192 yards, Mitchell Paige had two touchdown catches and Devine Redding ran for 130 yards to help the Hoosiers snap a six-game skid.
Redding got the majority of playing time because starter Jordan Howard left after three carries because of “a slight knee deal,” according to Wilson.
Maryland (2-9, 0-7) lost its eighth in row despite getting 250 yards rushing from Brandon Ross, the fourth-most in school history. Ross scored on runs of 79, 22 and 75 yards.
“I just saw huge holes. That’s it,” Ross said. “I wish we could have gotten the win, but personally, it felt good to have that kind of game and really jump-start the offense.”
The Terrapins played without starting quarterback Perry Hills, who was announced as a late scratch with mononucleosis. His replacement, Caleb Rowe, completed 10 of 19 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown but did not come out of the locker room for the second half.
“Caleb has a concussion,” interim coach Mike Locksley said. “We went in at halftime and he was ruled out.”
Seldom-used Shane Cockerille played the final 30 minutes, going 11 for 22 for 82 yards.
Maryland fell to 0-5 under Locksley, who took over for fired Randy Edsall on Oct. 11. The Terrapins’ last chance to avoid going winless in the Big Ten is next week at Rutgers.
“We still have one game left and a great opportunity to get a win,” Ross said.
On Senior Day at Maryland, the Terrapins could hardly have gotten off to a better start.
After the Hoosiers kicked a field goal on the opening possession, Ross busted through a hole in the middle of the line and took off on the longest run of his career.
Maryland’s next drive covered 87 yards in nine plays, the last of them a 22-yard touchdown run by Ross. Eight minutes into the game, Ross had 116 yards and two TDs.
An Indiana turnover followed, and Rowe turned it onto a 14-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Culmer for a 21-3 lead with nine minutes elapsed.
The Hoosiers didn’t blink. Sudfeld threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Paige on a third-and-goal, and a 59-yard toss to Andre Booker cut the gap to 21-17.
Indiana then executed a successful onside kick, and Sudfled scored on a 1-yard sneak to put the Hoosiers ahead for good.
Two more field goals followed, the last after Maryland botched a fake punt.
Ross gave Maryland hope with his 75 yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second half, but Sudfeld responded with TD passes to Paige and Michael Cooper on successive possessions.