No. 12 UM dominates Duke, 59-17

Terps run mark to perfect 7-0 after amassing 697 yards

Most points since 1975

Hill: 428 total yards

UM: 6 first-half TDs

October 21, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - A relaxed approach worked for quarterback Shaun Hill, who had a career day yesterday at Byrd Stadium, amassing 428 of his team's 697 yards in No. 12 Maryland's 59-17 demolition of Duke that sets up Saturday's showdown at Florida State.

Hill decided to joke around a bit with teammates as he never had before, as part of a strategy to loosen things up.

"It's not like I was going around pantsing people," said Hill, "but just saying a quick word. Usually, I'm just silent - that's the way I prepare for games."

It worked as the senior from Parsons, Kan., opened the game by working the option to perfection, then hitting his first eight passes on the way to a career-high 323 yards through the air as Sugar Bowl representatives watched.

He rushed for 99 of his 105 yards in the first half as Maryland (7-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) took a 42-10 lead into halftime, the first time the Terps scored that many points in a half since the famous 1984 comeback game against Miami.

At that point, "he came up to me and said, `I have more rushing yards than you,' " said Bruce Perry, who was the nation's rushing leader until this week. "It's all good as long as we win."

Duke (0-7, 0-5) entered the game with the ACC's worst defense, measured by scoring and yardage. That played a large role in Maryland's biggest offensive outburst since an 802-yard performance against Virginia in 1975.

But Terps coach Ralph Friedgen, who became the school's only coach to begin his career with seven straight wins, said Hill stood out.

"I thought Shaun Hill played his best football game," said Friedgen, who also saw his Maryland defense force four turnovers. "He was getting back to his third, fourth and fifth options on routes. He ran the ball exceptionally well ... and he made some great decisions in putting us in plays where we had a chance to succeed."

So with the team's defense having a so-so day despite the four takeaways, the Maryland offense posed a workout for the statisticians.

Aside from the scoring in one half, when was the last time Maryland had more than 59 points? That would be 1975. When was the last time the team had more than 600 yards? 1993. When was the last time a Maryland quarterback had 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game? Never.

Maryland, which hasn't been to a bowl game since 1990, also earned 34 first downs and punted only once - on the game's final play. The 7-0 start is the team's best since 1978, and the seven wins its most since 1985, the last time the Terps won an ACC title.

Intrigue involving the actual contest vanished nine minutes into yesterday's game, when Maryland scored its third touchdown on three drives totaling about seven minutes against a team now riding a 19-game losing streak.

Unlike the 1984 team's second-half outburst against Miami, the desperation yesterday came not from a 31-point halftime deficit, but from the fear of dullness against the struggling Blue Devils.

"I guess that answers whether they'd have a letdown," said Friedgen in his opening remarks during the post-game news conference. He challenged his team to forget about the attention-getting Georgia Tech win on Oct. 11, reminding the veterans of their 1999 homecoming loss, and above all, telling them that they should beat Duke - the school's basketball archrival - simply because they're Duke.

After the defense forced the Blue Devils into a three-and-out, Maryland's offense responded, driving 58 yards in 2:13 before Hill's 2-yard touchdown run with 12:20 left in the first quarter made it 7-0.

With the Blue Devils reeling from one shot, Maryland delivered another on its second series, when Hill took off on the option and turned it upfield for a 57-yard run to the Duke 21.

"Man, I saw so many guys fly by like they didn't see me," Hill said afterward. "That's respect for Bruce [Perry] right there."

Three plays later, Perry extended the lead with a 12-yard touchdown run at the 7:16 mark, and an interception by Tony Jackson led to a James Lynch score from 14 yards out, giving the Terps a 21-0 lead with 6:22 left in the opening quarter.

The passing game flowed from there, with Hill finding Jeff Dugan in the end zone on the fourth of six straight Maryland scores. Hill ended up completing 26 of 32 passes with only one interception.

By the half, Maryland already had 438 total yards, averaging nearly 10 yards a carry, and eight players had at least one catch, led by Matt Murphy's 70 yards on five receptions.

"I told the kids that I expected them to score on every offensive possession," Friedgen said. "I was counting them down."

Now, the countdown begins for Saturday's game in Tallahassee, Fla. Of the 43,528 in attendance yesterday, those in the student section began doing the tomahawk-chop gesture toward the end of the game. When it was over, the players could turn their attention to Florida State, a team they've never beaten.

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