UM cooks at home, feasts on Clemson

McBrien throws for 3 TDs, defense strong in 21-7 win

3rd sellout in row at Byrd

October 05, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - His voice was hoarse, and as usual, his hip was killing him. But when the game was finally over, coach Ralph Friedgen limped his way toward the Maryland student section, determined to belt out the Terrapins fight song at the top of his lungs. It was tradition, after all, and you don't let a few aches and pains get in the way of tradition.

At least not after wins like this.

On the strength of yet another dominant defensive performance, Maryland defeated Clemson, 21-7, yesterday in front of 51,545 at Byrd Stadium, the third straight sellout and the first time the Terps have drawn more than 50,000 for three consecutive home games.

It was the Terps' fourth straight win, and the third straight year they have defeated the Tigers, a feat that hadn't been accomplished at Maryland since 1975-77.

But even more than that, it was clearly Maryland's most complete game of the season. Terps quarterback Scott McBrien threw three touchdown passes, and the Maryland defense continued to flex its muscles in big moments, sacking Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst four times and intercepting him twice.

Maryland (4-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) also allowed just 10 yards rushing, its lowest total of the season. At halftime, the Tigers (3-2, 1-1) had minus-14 yards on the ground.

"I thought our defense and our special teams were outstanding," Friedgen said. "I think our defensive staff really made them one-dimensional."

Only a sophomore, Whitehurst came into the game completing 67.7 percent of his passes and showing the kind of form that allowed his father, David Whitehurst, to play quarterback for seven seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers. But Maryland bruised, battered and confused Clemson's signal-caller, sending pass rushers from all angles.

"He's a quarterback that doesn't like to get out of the pocket too much, but we forced him to do that and it caused a little problem for them," said Shawne Merriman, who sacked Whitehurst twice. "We just had to come out tonight and control them up front, because it all starts up front. That was a big momentum difference."

All the early momentum was on Maryland's side, and the Terps came out smoking on offense and grabbed a 14-0 lead. McBrien hit wide receiver Steve Suter for a 25-yard touchdown on Maryland's first drive of the game, then followed it up with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Rich Parson on the third play of the second quarter.

"That's what I want our offense to look like," Friedgen said. "We had a good mix of run and pass, and we were throwing the ball on time. I was getting excited."

With the Tigers unable to get anything going on offense, it looked like Maryland was on its way to opening up a big lead.

But penalties derailed two promising Maryland drives, and with 2:33 remaining in the first half, Whitehurst finally made the Terps pay, hanging in the pocket just long enough to hit receiver Derrick Hamilton for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Hamilton was double-covered on the play, but he outjumped cornerback Andrew Smith for the ball, then outran safety Dennard Wilson for the touchdown.

"For however bad we played in the first half, and it was bad, we went into the locker room at 14-7 thanks to [Hamilton]," Whitehurst said. "That kept us in the game at least."

In the third quarter, however, the Terps responded with a big play of the their own. Facing 3rd-and-9, McBrien dropped back from Maryland's 31 and lofted a beautiful ball to sophomore wide receiver Derrick Fenner, who was streaking down the sideline. On the play, Clemson defensive back Tye Hill pushed Fenner out of bounds, but Fenner continued running. Under college football rules, a receiver who is forced out of bounds can come back into play and make a catch. Fenner then caught a 69-yard touchdown, Maryland's longest of the season.

"Derrick runs the best routes of anyone on the whole team," McBrien said. "I know if he gets a step on someone, he's going to get separation. It's funny, he told me when we came off the field, he didn't come back in bounds until he saw the ball in the air."

Said Friedgen: "A lot of guys would have quit on that throw, figured that they got pushed out of bounds, they could just stop. Derrick didn't. ... It was a big, big play in the game."

Maryland's defense took over from there. Clemson drove the ball to the Terps' 36 on the next possession, but on fourth-and-one, Whitehurst tried to hit fullback Cliff Harrell on a short pass and Domonique Foxworth came flying in to knock the ball away.

"That was a pretty good feeling," Foxworth said. "When a team is having so much trouble running that they have to throw the ball on fourth-and-one, you know you're getting after them."

Madieu Williams and Leon Joe ended Clemson's next two possessions with interceptions to seal the victory. Whitehurst finished with 320 yards passing, but he was just 22-for-45. D'Qwell Jackson led Maryland with nine tackles, and Josh Allen rushed for 65 yards on 16 carries.

"It's a good win," Friedgen said. "It puts us at 4-2, and we finally got a win in the ACC. Right now, the way I look at it, it's in our hands. Whatever we want to make of ourselves, it's up to us."

Next for Terps

Matchup: Duke (2-3, 0-2) vs. Maryland (4-2, 1-1)

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

Yesterday: Duke did not play.

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