Theme of game blowing in wind

When ball was in air, everything turned into 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 and the passing game 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 the passing game. While Josh Allen finished with 257 yards (third- best day by a Terps back), a fair guess is that necessity - as well as confidence - explained that nine of the team's first 11 plays were ground plays.

Both teams actually 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, shots down the field were rare - and even Williams" catch occurred with Maryland heading away from the wind.

The return games didn't benefit much, 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 he got kicks that were unreturnable.

So, for the game, both teams totaled 43 return yards on three opportunities.

Television picture

The ACC is expected to enter negotiations on its television arrangement with ESPN. The league's television contracts with ABC, the cable network and Jefferson-Pilot - which syndicates regional games - go 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.

Bowl people

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

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

Bob Smith, chairman elect for the Gator Bowl committee, said he liked what he saw, with a trip to 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 quar terback Neil O'Donnell for third place on the school's list in that category Schaub's fourth-quarter pass of 39 yards to Heath Miller made him Virginia's all-time passer.

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