Maryland football off to best start since 2016 after Illinois comeback

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Terps comeback to improve to 3-0 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa completed the first epic comeback of his Maryland football career on Saturday night. 

The Terps trailed 17-10 early in the fourth quarter before Tagovailoa led the offense to a touchdown and a game-winning field goal in the final 2:13 of game action en route to a 20-17 win against Illinois to secure Maryland's best start to a season since 2016. 

First, Tagovailoa found Tayon Fleet-Davis on 10-yard game-tying touchdown score after evading two Illini defenders. 

A couple of sacks from walk-on defensive lineman Greg Rose set up the game-winning field goal. Maryland got possession with 47 seconds left on Illinois' 45-yard line, setting the stage for Joseph Petrino's first career game-winning kick from 32 yards out as time expired. 

Tagovailoa finished with 350 yards through the air, completing 32 of his 45 attempts. Wideout Dontay Demus Jr. had eight catches for 77 yards, while Fleet-Davis' two touchdowns and 11 rushes for 62 yards led things offensively for the Terps. 

"I was really proud of the way they fought and overcame a ton of mistakes on our part," head coach Mike Locksley said postgame. "The ball didn't see to bounce our way today but when we needed to make plays on offense, defense and special teams all three phases made the plays and that's what I'm most proud of." 

After its first road win of the season, Maryland has a chance to equal the 4-0 record from the 2016 season when Kent State comes to College Park on Sept. 25.

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