Hugging ground was No. 1 on charts

With ill wind blowing, everything in the air became an adventure

Maryland notebook

College Football

November 14, 2003|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - At the end of the third quarter, trying to hold on to a 24-14 lead, Maryland deliberately took a delay-of-game penalty on third-and-7. Why? The wind conditions in central Maryland, which seemed to hold last night's contest hostage.

Played a month later, there might be worse conditions in these parts. But with 41-degree temperatures nultiplied by 24-mph winds, special teams play and the passing games took a hit.

Maryland's Adam Podlesh, named one of the Ray Guy Award semifinalists earlier this week, was humbled anytime the Terps had to punt away from Gossett Team House at the east end of Byrd Stadium.

It wasn't much better for Maryland's passing game. While Josh Allen finished with 257 yards (third-best rushing day by a Terps back), a fair guess is that necessity - as well as confidence - caused nine of the team's first 11 plays to be ground plays.

Both teams, though, threw well. Virginia gained 186 yards through the air on 26 attempts, and Maryland ended up with 191 yards on 21 attempts.

But with the exception of Scott McBrien's 42-yard pass to Jafar Williams, setting up Allen's second-quarter touchdown, attempts down field were rare.

The return games didn't benefit, either. While Steve Suter is one of the most dangerous return men in the Atlantic Coast Conference, he either got short kicks that gave him little space to move, or kicks that were unreturnable.

For the game, the teams totaled 43 return yards.

Television picture

The ACC is expected to begin negotiations soon on its television arrangement with ESPN. The league's television contracts with ABC, the cable network and Jefferson-Pilot - which syndicates regional games - run through 2005 and are worth $25 million, but the pact with ESPN includes clauses for renegotiations triggered by changes in the league.

Big East members Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College are set to join the ACC next year.

Looks from bowls

Representatives of three bowls were in attendance last night, looking at both Maryland and Virginia.

The Gator, Peach and Tangerine - games that get second, third and fourth choice among ACC teams - were impressed by the crowd at Byrd Stadium, 51,027.

Bob Smith, chairman elect of the Gator Bowl committee, said he liked what he saw. He'll now attend Pittsburgh's game against West Virginia on Saturday.

"We definitely think favorably when we think of Maryland," said Smith, in his 14th year on the committee. "Maryland is one of several options for us, and we're weighing the pros and cons. There are two games that we're going to this week, and this is one of them."

Et cetera

For the second straight week, Maryland played in red uniforms instead of its customary scheme of white pants and red jerseys. The Terps normally save the single-color outfits for homecoming, and scored 59 points against North Carolina on Nov. 1 ... McBrien's touchdown toss to Latrez Harrison in the first quarter was his 26th, tying him with former NFL quarterback Neil O'Donnell for third place on the school's all-time list ... Nick Novak's field goal in the fourth quarter - putting the game out of reach for the Terps - put him over the 300-point mark for his career. With 303, he is only six points short of breaking the school record set by Jess Atkinson in the mid-1980s.

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