COLLEGE PARK -- Oh, they do have an offense.
The University of Maryland's offense turned in its best effort of the season compiling 433 yards of total offense, including 280 rushing, as the Terps routed Wake Forest, 41-13, yesterday before 27,554 at Byrd Stadium.
Maryland offensive players had taken a lot of criticism this season for their inconsistent play and failure to establish a running game (averaging 1.8 per rush and 49.3 per game) to complement the passing attack.
But yesterday, the Terps (4-3 overall, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had only two turnovers. Quarterback Scott Zolak was intercepted only once. The Terps had the ball for nearly 39 minutes, 18 more than Wake Forest (2-4, 0-3).
And get this: A Maryland running back rushed for more than 100 yards. Halfback Troy Jackson gained 152 yards on 27 carries, becoming the first Maryland runner to rush for that many yards since Alvin Blount had 186 yards on 26 carries on Nov. 29, 1985, against Virginia.
Maryland's offensive line dominated Wake Forest. Reserve halfbacks Andre Vaughn and Mark Mason had 53 yards on 10 carries and 52 on seven attempts, respectively. Maryland scored touchdowns the first four times it had the ball and held a 28-6 halftime lead.
"Yes, we do have an offense," said Maryland wide receiver Barry Johnson. "People forget that we've played against some great defensive teams. They kept saying we weren't giving the defense any support. But today we showed them. We knew we had an opportunity to score a lot of points."
And the Terps didn't care that it came against Wake Forest, the second-worst defensive team in the conference. The Demon Deacons were allowing 180.2 rushing and 170.6 passing yards per game.
"Hey, it was nice to see our offense go out there and stuff the ball down somebody's throats," said Maryland inside linebacker Scott Whittier. "I've been reading Barry Switzer's book. Football is a macho game. Today we were the most macho. And when you're the most macho, that's when you're happy. This was a fun game to play."
Johnson said: "When we played Michigan, we were the underdogs but we still had to play the game. Despite the odds, you've still got to play the game and if you didn't, then we could all sit at home and watch the bookies. I'll take this win. It's great motivation for us coming off two tough, physical losses."
Despite the new-found running game, Maryland couldn't put Wake Forest away until midway in the third quarter. After a 37-yard field goal by Dan DeArmas that put Maryland ahead, 31-13, with 4:36 left in the period, Wake Forest's Anthony Williams returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to the Maryland 1. Terps defensive back Doug Lawrence made one of the game's biggest plays, coming from across the field to get a hand on Williams' ankle at the 4-yard line.
On the next play, Maryland was called for a personal foul, giving Wake Forest first-and-goal inside the 1. Wake Forest's Phil Barnhill then tried a sneak, only to be hit helmet-first by a diving Whittier. Barnhill spun out to the left, only to be grabbed by outside linebacker Jack Bradford, who forced the fumble that cornerback Michael Hollis recovered at the 1.
"I got a good shot on him," said Whittier. "I popped him right in the mouth. I thought he was going to go down, but he stumbled, spinning to his left. It was one of those plays when you go, 'Yeah, I made a great play.' Then you say, 'Shoot, he's going to score.' Then you go, 'Yeah, we got the ball.' It was a long couple of seconds, but it turned out to be a big play."
Wake Forest was given a dead-ball foul on the play and 10 plays later, DeArmas kicked a 26-yard field goal with 14:52 left in the game that put Maryland ahead, 34-13.
"You can't coach a player to make an effort like Lawrence; it's something you ask for," said Maryland coach Joe Krivak. "Again, I thought our defense played well."
Wake Forest gained 219 yards passing, but had only 110 rushing. But the big story of the day was Maryland's rushing attack, led by Jackson who rushed primarily off tackle behind tackles Clarence Jones and O'Neil Glenn.
Krivak and Zolak deserve credit, too. Wake Forest started the game playing a 4-2 defense, daring Maryland to run and overloading to the wide side of the field.
Each time Maryland came to the line of scrimmage, Zolak checked off away from the overloaded side. He also ran away from the side nose guard Mike Smith. Wake Forest didn't make any major adjustments until halftime.
"First of all, they came out and ran the football, which was something we weren't entirely expecting," said Wake Forest coach Bill Dooley. "Zolak is an excellent passer, and this team usually has a pass-oriented offense. They came right out there and got two quick touchdowns, which put us in the position of playing catch-up."
Zolak scored on a 4-yard sneak to finish an eight-play, 56-yard drive on the Terps' first possession of the game, as Jackson had 45 yards on six carries.