COLLEGE PARK - The fans called him a traitor. His ex-teammates razzed him. They cursed at him. They told him he wasn't good enough to play with them, then tried to knock him senseless to prove they were right.
But when Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien led a 48-17 rout last year of West Virginia, the school he had transferred from in 2001, he ended up having the last word in the matter.
"Last year, they were talking all kinds of trash to Scott, like, `You weren't good enough to play here' and all that," said Maryland offensive lineman Eric Dumas.
"I can't even say some of the stuff they were saying. ... I can only imagine how good he felt. When you leave a school on bad terms, and the fans were against you and everybody's against you, and you beat them, I know that had to be a great feeling."
McBrien and West Virginia will meet again this week and, truth be told, most of the bad feelings between the two parties have faded. Maryland (1-2) and West Virginia (1-2) are both fighting to salvage seasons that have gotten off to rocky starts and, if you believe McBrien, there are much bigger things to worry about.
"That was last year," McBrien said Saturday after the Terps' 61-0 win over The Citadel. "That was going to Morgantown, and that was a one-time thing. We're treating it like it's a normal game, like we treat every other opponent."
It's impossible, however, to completely ignore their shared history. McBrien was supposed to be West Virginia's next great quarterback when he arrived under coach Don Nehlen after an impressive career at Hyattsville's DeMatha High School.
But when Nehlen retired and Rich Rodriguez took over as coach in 2001, McBrien's stock plummeted, and after a frustrating period, he decided to transfer, thinking he'd given up football for good. He has spoken very little about the reasons behind his decision since.
"With Rodriguez, they were running an offense that Scott just wasn't going to fit in," said McBrien's high school coach, Bill McGregor.
"Some things were said that really hurt his feelings. You know how kids are. At that point, he was thinking everything is over. But you knew some school that needed a quarterback would take him. I knew he could definitely play at that level."
McBrien walked on at Maryland at the urging of McGregor, and the rest is history. When Maryland and West Virginia met last year, however, it was an emotional game for everyone. Mountaineers starting cornerback Brian King was McBrien's roommate his first year in Morgantown, and the two are still extremely close.
In the game, McBrien hit Jafar Williams for a 45-yard touchdown, beating King and helping Maryland jump to a 28-0 lead.
"It's fun playing against them," McBrien said. "I've got a lot of close friends up in Morgantown, but I can't think about playing against them."
McBrien's departure from West Virginia is not a subject he likes talking about. Even when he is asked about it, he answers questions with the same stoic expression on his face.
"I've always thought Scott would make a good poker player," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen. "He never changes expressions. He's the same whether he throws a touchdown or an interception. ... I know it's an important game to him, but he's never treated it any different than another game."
But doesn't some part of McBrien still want to prove to Rodriguez and the rest of West Virginia program that they messed up by overlooking him?
"Yeah," McBrien admitted, "but more last year. Last year there was all that buildup, and I was going back to Morgantown, playing in front of those fans that either loved me or hated me. It was definitely a lot different last year. I think I'm over that, I think the team is over that, and now we're treating it like just another opponent."
NOTES: Running back Bruce Perry said his ankle feels good and he'll be ready to play Saturday, if asked. He went through a full practice yesterday and didn't have any problems. "It's up to the coaches right now [how much I play]," Perry said. ... Defensive lineman Scott Smith won't play after missing practice this week with back problems. Kevin Eli will start in his place. ... Friedgen moved practice to 5:50 a.m. today to try and avoid problems caused by the impending arrival of Hurricane Isabel. The storm also changed West Virginia's travel plans a bit. The Mountaineers had originally planned to practice in College Park tomorrow, but because Maryland plans to keep the field covered, they will practice at home, indoors, and bus to Maryland late in the day.
Next for Terps
Matchup: West Virginia (1-2) vs. Maryland (1-2)
Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park
When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Radio: WNST (1570 AM), WMAL (630 AM)
Line: Maryland by 9