Ex-Terp has quiet return for Mountaineers

September 22, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,The Evening Sun

COLLEGE PARK -- The last time Mike Beasley played at Byrd Stadium, he was in a different uniform and at a different position. Maryland was his school and tailback was his game.

Yesterday he returned, as a flanker, for West Virginia.

Beasley ran for 528 yards for Maryland in 1988, transferred to West Virginia and sat out 1989, then led the Mountaineers in rushing with 607 yards last year. In the spring, coach Don Nehlen moved him from tailback to flanker.

"The idea was to help the offense," Beasley said after West Virginia's 37-7 romp over Maryland. "It had to be done."

Although Beasley went without a catch yesterday -- the few balls thrown his way were out of reach -- the man who replaced him at tailback had a game to remember.

Adrian Murrell, a junior from Wahiawa, Hawaii, raced for 141 yards, as West Virginia piled up 334 yards rushing. The Mountaineers threw only 13 passes, completing four for 39 yards.

"The line blocking was superb," Murrell said. "All I had to do was go through the holes."

Murrell scored two touchdowns, one on a 13-yard catch after setting up the score with a 44-yard -- and the other on a 1-yard run. He set up another touchdown with a 30-yard run.

Nehlen allowed that Murrell is a "good back." This about a fellow who had averaged 97.7 yards in his first two games.

"After he learns not to go backward, and stops the Hawaiian jiggle, he'll be even better," Nehlen said jokingly.

An Army brat, Murrell was born in Fayetteville, N.C., went to Italy with his family in second grade and wound up in Hawaii for high school. His father, Angelo, is back at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

That's why he spurned the West Coast schools that wooed him -- UCLA, Southern Cal and Washington. It seems that a woman who works in West Virginia's registrar's office was vacationing in Hawaii, saw Murrell play and brought back a glowing report.

"I wanted to play in the East, anyhow," Murrell said. "My family was coming back here. Coach Nehlen began calling me the 'Hawaiian Flash' after I did a 4.22 for 40 yards."

The Hawaiian Flash showed precious little last season, however. He had only seven carries for 48 yards. After a strong spring practice, Nehlen decided to switch Beasley to flanker.

"I was doing OK, and we had too many tailbacks," Murrell said. "The coaches wanted to get the best talent on the field, so they switched Mike because he has good hands."

Yesterday, West Virginia fullback Garrett Ford added 70 rushing yards and quarterback Darren Studstill ran for 51. The Mountaineers shredded Maryland's defense, amassing more yards (334) on the ground than the Terps had surrendered in their first two games combined (231).

"You saw an explosive offense," Studstill said. "The guys up front were the key. I wasn't touched and Adrian wasn't touched, either, at least not until he got to the secondary."

Nehlen said: "I don't think I've ever seen us dominate any better than we did this time. We like to run the ball. If we can't run, we have some problems."

There wasn't evidence of a single problem in that regard yesterday.

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