Virginia's 35-point second half makes Terps' effort lost cause

November 13, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- One image lingered from Maryland's final Atlantic Coast Conference game of the year: junior quarterback Scott Milanovich pounding his fist into the artificial turf of the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium after he was flushed out of the pocket, reversed field and was sacked for a 19-yard loss early in the fourth quarter.

There was just no place for Maryland to hide in the second half, as No. 21 Virginia came back from an early 11-point deficit to score 36 straight points on the way to a 46-21 rout of Maryland. The loss sealed another losing season for the Terps (4-6, 2-6 in the ACC).

"The roof kind of caved in," Maryland coach Mark Duffner said. "We started to press in the second half and tried to take control, but it backfired in bunches."

The second half saw the Terps lose three fumbles and an interception, have a punt blocked and have one of the interceptions and an onside kick returned for Cavaliers touchdowns.

After first-half touchdown passes to Jermaine Lewis and Geroy Simon, Milanovich and the Terps had visions of their first victory over a ranked team since Maryland upset the Cavaliers here four years ago.

Milanovich's streak of consecutive passes without an interception passed 160, the Maryland defense that had been abused the week before by North Carolina State had risen up for some big stops, and the 40,900 fans wondered if they were in on another late-season swoon by the Cavaliers.

Sophomore linebacker James Farrior and junior cornerback Joe Crocker delivered the big plays, however, as Virginia (7-2, 5-2) turned mistakes by the Terps' offense and special teams into four touchdowns, which blew open what was a tenuous 18-14 lead for the Cavaliers.

The roll call for Maryland's run-and-shoot offense was plain ugly in the second half:

* On the Terps' first offensive play of the half, Erik Greenstein's snap never got to Milanovich in the shotgun formation. Virginia recovered the fumble, but Rafael Garcia missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt.

* Two plays later, Milanovich was intercepted for the first time since Oct. 1, as Farrior stepped in front of a pass intended for Mancel Johnson at the Terps' 32-yard line. Farrior returned it 9 yards, and the Cavaliers needed just four plays to go the remaining 23 for a 25-14 lead.

* After a trade of punts, the Terps' offense foundered again. Farrior came in from the left side untouched to block Milanovich's punt, and Virginia followed with another quickie, two-play touchdown drive.

* The aforementioned sack of Milanovich ended Maryland's first foray into Cavaliers territory in 26 minutes, and on the Terps' next possession, Simon couldn't handle an outside screen. Crocker grabbed the bobble and returned it 38 yards for another touchdown.

Crocker returned an onside kick 46 yards for Virginia's final score.

It came after Milanovich's third touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Russ Weaver, cut the difference to 39-21 with 4:20 to go, but Milanovich had just as many interceptions and was sacked five times.

No one has run effectively against Virginia, and Allen Williams' seven carries netted 10 yards. The Cavaliers also handled the short routes and shovel passes that had made the Maryland offense so effective in the past month, and once ahead, Virginia mounted a nasty pass rush.

"They have studs across the board on the defensive line," Milanovich said. "We got behind, and their line lives for games like that. When they know you're going to throw, they come at you."

The pressure helped Virginia control the ball for all but 2:12 of an 18-minute span after Simon's 43-yard touchdown catch gave the Terps a 14-3 lead. Maryland went 23 minutes between first downs.

The Maryland defense kept Virginia out of the end zone for more than 29 minutes, but Duffner and Cavaliers coach George Welsh down played the significance of Virginia's first touchdown, a 1-yard dive by tailback Kevin Brooks with two seconds to go in the half.

It came three minutes after the Terps had turned away an 84-yard Virginia drive at the 1. On fourth-and-goal, junior free safety Wade Inge got a hand on Mike Groh's pass to Demetrius Allen.

From then on, it was all Virginia. The Cavaliers forced a punt from the 8; Brooks got them within 14-11 on the last scrimmage play of the half; fullback Charles Way ended the go-ahead, 80-yard drive that began the second half; and then the Terps self-destructed.

"There were a lot of weird plays out there," said Welsh. "It was a crossroads game. We don't think this way, but if we lose, it's not so good."

Steve Ingram, the Terps' captain and left tackle, rued the mistakes.

"Certain plays killed us," Ingram said. "There are four or five plays a game that really matter, and they won every one."


Who: No. 14 Syracuse

When: Saturday, at Syracuse, N.Y.

Record: 6-3

?3 Yesterday: Lost to No. 25 Boston College, 31-0.

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