Allen, Terps burn Virginia, earn 27-17 win

Back rushes for 257 yards on 38 carries as Maryland avenges last year's loss

257 is 3rd best in UM history

On cold, windy night, UM improves to 7-3

November 14, 2003|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Two games ago, Josh Allen was a forgotten man. Standing on the sideline in Atlanta, Maryland's sophomore running back was little more than a spectator during the Terps" loss to Georgia Tech.

His line that night? Five carries, zero yards.

Last night, he rushed his way into the Maryland history books.

Allen rushed for 257 yards on 38 carries, and Maryland needed every one of them as the Terps jumped out to a big lead, then hung on for an emotional 27-17 victory over Virginia in front of 51,027 at Byrd Stadium.

Allen's 257 yards were the third-best single-game total in school history, and his 38 carries were the fifth most by a Maryland running back. Allen's heroics helped the Terps (7-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) defeat the Cavaliers (5-5, 3-4) for just the second time in 11 years.

For 30 minutes last night, Maryland had little trouble. The Terps ran the ball with power, passed with precision, and gang-tackled on defense.

Leading Virginia 24-7 at halftime, it looked like the Maryland would cruise to its second straight blowout win.

But that all changed when the teams came out for the second half. Virginia scored 10 straight points to close to within 24-17, and the Terps' offense - so proficient in the first half - was going nowhere.

Allen and Maryland's offensive line, however, simply wouldn't let the game slip away.

In the fourth quarter, he rushed for 35 yards on what turned out to be the game's most crucial drive. Nick Novak kicked a 45-yard field goal with 3:42 to play to give Maryland some breathing room. The Terps' defense forced Virginia in a three-and- out on the next possession to close out the win.

As usual, Maryland looked sharp at the beginning. The Terps went 84 yards on their opening drive, and took a 7-0 lead when quarterback Scott McBrien hooked up with Latrez Harrison on an 11-yard touchdown pass. It was the ninth time in 10 games that the Terps have scored a touchdown in the first quarter.

Virginia, however, did all it could to help Maryland out on the drive. Twice the Cavaliers stopped the Terps' offense on third down, but a personal foul by linebacker Ahmad Brooks for roughing the passer, and an offside penalty let Maryland keep the ball. McBrien made Virginia pay, zipping a quick out to Harrison on 3rd-and-7.

The Terps made it 14-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Allen in the second quarter, but it was Jafar Williams that made the difference on the drive, hauling in a 41-yard pass at the 6-yard line.

Williams, a senior, was Maryland's second-leading receiver last season, and began the year as a starter.

But a few too many drops and a hand injury sent him tumbling down the depth chart, to the point where he didn't even play Maryland's blowout wins over Duke and North Carolina. When wide receiver Derrick Fenner had to have his appendix removed this week, Friedgen decided to give Williams another shot in the rotation, and he responded.

It was that kind of half for Maryland. Even when things went wrong, the Terps kept their composure.

In the second quarter, Virginia caught Maryland in a blitz at the wrong time, and Matt Schaub hit running back Wally Lundi on a 62-yard screen pass down to the 3-yard line. Schaub scored on a quarterback draw three plays later to make it 14-7, but as it turns out Allen was just getting warmed up.

On the next play, Allen took a hand off at the 20-yard line, cut to his right and appeared to be stuffed at the line. But the sophomore kept his feet churning, bounced outside, and didn't stop until he crossed the goal line 80 yards later. The run was Maryland's longest play of the season, and helped the Terps rush for 181 yards in the first half alone.

It was a different story in the third quarter though, as the Terps managed just 18 yards on the ground.

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