Terps blast past Carolina for 59-21 win

McBrien bounces back to throw, run for 6 scores, putting TD drought to rest

39-point 2nd quarter ACC record

Friedgen head-butts rouse players

`I was worried I wasn't reaching them'

November 02, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - When searching yesterday for a word to describe his performance, Scott McBrien could have picked brilliant, and no one would have dared disagree. He could have picked courageous, and no one would have laughed. You could even argue that after playing the best game of his career, he could have picked flawless, because at times, Maryland's senior quarterback was all those things.

Instead, the word McBrien chose was careless.

"It might sound odd, but I played careless today," McBrien said. "I felt like I didn't have anything to lose. ... I wasn't uptight, and I was just throwing the ball without worrying if it was going to be caught, dropped or intercepted. I just went out there and winged it."

The result was nothing short of superb. McBrien threw for a career-best 349 yards, tossed four touchdown passes and ran for two more as Maryland dominated its homecoming game, beating North Carolina, 59-21, in front of 51,195 at Byrd Stadium.

McBrien's performance was impressive on its own, but even more so considering it came just nine days after a concussion against Georgia Tech. Twice this past week, he was unable to practice because of headaches. "Maybe I need to have a concussion every week," McBrien joked.

At times yesterday, it was hard to tell whether Maryland (6-3, 3-2) was suddenly that good or if North Carolina (1-8, 0-5) was simply that bad. Certainly, it was a little of both. Maryland scored 39 points in the second quarter, which set an Atlantic Coast Conference record, and accumulated 612 yards of offense, a season high. Quite the output for a team that failed to score a touchdown the previous week in a 7-3 loss to Tech.

"I was really worried about this game because I thought our team was in a very fragile state," Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said. "If we had lost this game today, I don't know if we would have won another game the rest of the year."

Friedgen was so worried, in fact, that he decided to do something about it. Five minutes before kickoff, Maryland's players were wondering whether their coach had gone nuts. A red-faced Friedgen was head-butting linemen, slamming his body into linebackers and screaming at the top of his lungs to anyone who would listen.

"I was actually worried he was going to hurt his hip," said receiver Steve Suter, referring to Friedgen's new artificial hip. "It was crazy. It was like he thought he was in a mosh pit."

"I didn't know the old man still had it," said lineman Lamar Bryant. "When you see a whole bunch of bodies flying around and Coach is right in the middle, it gets you pretty fired up."

North Carolina was fired up, too, and the Tar Heels had a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to some power running and a 96-yard kickoff return by Mike Mason. But Maryland, which had to settle for field goals by Nick Novak on its first two possessions, started to heat up in the second period.

McBrien scored on a 6-yard run, then hit Suter for the two-point conversion to tie the game. North Carolina regained the lead with a 52-yard touchdown on a shovel pass from Darian Durant to Chad Scott, but Maryland answered with a 14-yard score from McBrien to Latrez Harrison.

"I could see this game being one of those 51-48 deals," Friedgen said.

It wasn't, mostly because the Terps' defense seemed to wake up just at the right time. With Maryland up 24-21, Domonique Foxworth intercepted a pass from Durant, and on the next play McBrien threw a 43-yard touchdown on a swing pass to Josh Allen. On Maryland's next possession, McBrien hit Jo Jo Walker in stride for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 38-21.

"What you saw today from Scott is what I see in practice every day," Friedgen said. "He was finally able to transfer that to the game."

McBrien's 349 yards passing on 15 of 25 throws were the most yards by a Maryland quarterback since Scott Milanovich in 1995. He had some help, too. For the first time this season, Maryland's receivers made catches they shouldn't have. If McBrien's throw was a little behind them, they pulled it in.

"We made more plays today than we have all year," Friedgen said.

The Tar Heels completely unraveled right before halftime. Jawarski Pollack fumbled on Carolina's 20-yard line with 57 seconds left, and three plays later Allen made it 45-21 with a 5-yard touchdown run.

"Things went from bad to worse to worst," North Carolina coach John Bunting said. "What's a worse word than worst? How about disaster? It went from bad to worse to disaster."

It did not get any better in the second half for the Tar Heels. McBrien hit Harrison for his fourth touchdown of the game with 8:10 left in the third, and he ran for a 1-yard score minutes later after North Carolina muffed a punt by Adam Podlesh at its 20.

Maryland finished with 252 yards rushing, 27 first downs, four sacks and didn't have a turnover. About the only bad news was that the Terps lost running backs Sam Maldonado and Bruce Perry to a sprained knee and ankle, respectively.

Neither walked off under his own power, though Friedgen said Perry's injury was less serious. Before exiting, Perry had his best game of the season, rushing for 96 yards on 17 carries.

"I thanked my kids after the game because I was worried I wasn't reaching them," Friedgen said. " ... They needed something like this to help them get their confidence. I told them last night that I just wanted them to play with their hearts and to play with pride. ... Do it for 60 minutes and have fun. I said let's not play the game like they have a 100-pound weight on their shoulders."

Terp on the rise

With his career-high four touchdown passes yesterday, Scott McBrien moved to fourth on Maryland's career list for passing TDs. The breakdown:

Quarterback Years TDs

Scott Milanovich '92-95 49

Boomer Esiason '81-83 42

Neil O'Donnell '87-89 26

Scott McBrien '02-03 25

Dan Henning '85-87 24

Alan Pastrana '65-68 23

Brian Cummings '94-97 22

Jack Scarbath '50-53 22

Dick Shiner '61-63 21

Stan Gelbaugh '81-85 20

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