COLLEGE PARK - The Maryland Terrapins' offense is designed to spread the ball around to a host of receivers, although senior Latrez Harrison could be emerging as Maryland's go-to guy.
Harrison, a converted quarterback in his second year as a wide-out, was there when the Terps needed him in last night's 33-20 victory over Duke at Byrd Stadium.
The Terps stumbled badly in the opening half by failing to establish a running game against the Blue Devils, but Harrison, 6 feet 2, 223 pounds, stepped up in a big way.
After the Terps had punted three times, gained only three first downs and produced just two Nick Novak field goals to take a 6-0 lead, Harrison struck on back-to-back plays. First, he beat Duke cornerback Brian Greene on a deep post pattern before hauling in a 49-yard completion from quarterback Scott McBrien.
On the next play, he beat Greene again on a fade pattern into the left corner of the end zone to complete a 15-yard touchdown reception, giving Maryland a 13-0 lead with 4:25 left in the first half.
"That's the best deep ball I've thrown all year, and Latrez ran a great route. I put it where it had to be, and he made the play," McBrien said.
Junior defensive tackle Randy Starks has been Maryland's best defensive lineman for the past two seasons, and Starks wasted little time showing why last night. He personally ruined two of Duke's first three drives, en route to a typical Starks night.
On Duke's second possession, Starks burst through the middle of the offensive line on third-and-five and sacked quarterback Mike Schneider for a 6-yard loss to force a Blue Devils' punt.
After getting the ball back quickly on an interception by Greene, the Blue Devils drove 37 yards and faced a second-and-10 at the Maryland 33, when Starks struck again. Duke wide receiver Khary Sharpe attempted an end-around run to the left side, but Starks chased him down and swiped the ball away, causing a fumble that rolled backward and ended with a 22-yard loss. End of drive.
Starks finished with six tackles, including 1.5 sacks, three stops for losses, and also broke up a pass.
"We're getting good pressure on the quarterback with a three-man rush. I was complaining to the official because I thought [Starks] was getting held on every play," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said.
28 ACC losses in row
How does a team lose 28 consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games? It plays like Duke. Although they deserve credit for refusing to fold in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils' offense broke down in every way imaginable, especially in the early going.
Duke held the ball for nearly 21 minutes and limited Maryland to five first downs and 29 yards rushing in the first half, yet trailed at halftime 13-0. That's because the Blue Devils either allowed a sack, lost a fumble or committed a penalty during its first seven possessions.
The Devils were flagged for two false starts and four delay-of-game penalties in the first half.
For the first time in school history, Maryland has drawn at least 50,000 in four consecutive home games. ... The Terps are 17-1 at home under Friedgen. ... Sophomore linebacker Shawne Merriman recorded his sixth sack of the season, which surpasses his total from a year ago.