Mountaineers run down Terps

Jordan gains 38 yards in 30-17 setback

September 17, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Two Maryland football team buses broke down Friday afternoon in Hagerstown on the trip here from College Park, delaying the Terrapins' arrival by 90 minutes and prompting coach Ron Vanderlinden to cancel a light workout.

Then Maryland's offensive and defensive lines broke down yesterday on national television, enabling West Virginia to ramble to a 30-17 victory in a less-than-artistic struggle between the neighboring state rivals.

West Virginia rushed 45 times for 276 yards against the Terrapins, who also hurt themselves with 10 penalties for 65 yards.

"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Vanderlinden said of his 1-1 team. "We made mistakes. Playing a good team on the road, you can't make mistakes."

The Terps' troubles extended to preseason Heisman Trophy candidate LaMont Jordan, who gained 38 yards on 18 carries, marring a day in which he became the all-time leading rusher in the 108-year history of Maryland football.

Jordan has rushed for 3,327 yards in his career, surpassing Charlie Wysocki, who rolled up 3,317 yards from 1978 to 1981. But it has taken Jordan two games to reach 100 yards this season; he had 22 rushes for 62 yards in the opener against Temple.

"When I was walking off the field after the game I was thinking about all that has gone wrong in the first two games," Jordan said. "It is very frustrating and I guess all the Heisman talk and all the All-America talk is causing me to put too much pressure on myself.

"I just can't break that big one I need," Jordan continued. "I hope people don't start downtalking Maryland football now. We had nearly 47,000 people in Byrd last week and I hope they keep on coming out to see us."

Jordan couldn't even catch a break on a promising option pass to Scooter Monroe late in the first half that almost went for a 55-yard touchdown. Jordan took a handoff from Calvin McCall and was immediately descended upon by two West Virginia players, forcing him to fling the ball toward a wide-open Monroe at the West Virginia 15-yard line.

Monroe looked as if he had a bead on the ball, but it just eluded his grasp and fell to the turf, leaving the Terps trailing, 13-3, with 4:22 left before intermission. Jordan's near-touchdown strike came during a heavy rain that hit Mountaineer Field midway through the second quarter and continued until halftime.

The Mountaineers (2-0) fumbled six times, losing three. One came on a botched punt that Maryland's Leon Joe turned into a 54-yard return for a touchdown with 19 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the Terps' deficit to 20-17.

But West Virginia would answer with a 66-yard drive for a 26-yard Jon Ohlinger field goal that expanded the lead to 23-17 with 11:31 remaining.

Maryland followed with a 76-yard drive to the 1-yard line, where two calls went against the Terps.

On a fourth and inches at the goal line, McCall appeared to break the plane for a 23-23 tie and a near-automatic extra-point attempt by Brian Kopka. But after a long delay, the officials ruled that McCall did not score.

"That would have been a touchdown anywhere but here," McCall said. "Sure, they pushed me back, but I was still in the end zone when I got up. I asked the line judge to explain why it wasn't a touchdown and he didn't answer. I was in and so was LaMont on the play before that."

Jordan had blasted his way around the right side for 4 yards and tried to lunge over the goal line. He was ruled down inches short, and Vanderlinden decided to go with the McCall sneak for the lead instead of calling on his Heisman hopeful again.

"They were stacking up the line all day on LaMont and we had only a few inches to go, so it was a simple decision to have Calvin try to sneak it," Vanderlinden said. "It worked. We just didn't get the call. I was amazed. All the officials were too far away from me to get their attention."

The call also surprised West Virginia coach Don Nehlen.

"All I kept looking for was the official with his hands up, and when I didn't see that, I said `Thank the Lord.' But even if they had scored then, we wouldn't have lost," Nehlen said. "I believe we would have come back and scored anyway."

After holding Maryland, West Virginia took off on a 99-yard, 11-play drive to ice the victory, 30-17, with 1:41 remaining on a 2-yard run by backup tailback Cooper Rego.

Rego replaced starting tailback Avon Cobourne, who left the game late in the first half with a left-ankle sprain. Cobourne ran 12 times for 97 yards before leaving. Rego rolled up 114 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

West Virginia quarterback Brad Lewis mixed the pass with the run, completing 14 of 22 for 165 yards and one touchdown. He also scored on a 12-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

Maryland 0 3 14 0 - 17

West Virginia 7 13 0 10 - 30

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