Here, there, everywhere, Merriman proves factor

MARYLAND NOTEBOOK

But loss dims impact of possibly his best game

Maryland notebook

October 17, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - The hat was pulled low enough to obscure Shawne Merriman's eyes, but it didn't hide the disappointment in his face.

The normally upbeat junior spoke in hushed tones and wasn't cracking anything that even remotely resembled a grin.

He didn't look like a defensive end who had just made 15 tackles (nine solo) and had probably played the best game of his career.

"It might have been," said Merriman when asked whether yesterday's 13-3 loss to North Carolina State represented the best game of his career. "It just doesn't feel the same when you lose. You can have 15, 20 tackles - as many as you want - but it still doesn't feel the same."

Merriman was so active yesterday that it seemed like he was playing about three different positions at the same time on certain plays. On one play in the first half, Merriman rushed the passer and then hustled 20 yards down the field the other way to make a tackle.

"I thought [Merriman] played an unbelievable game," said Terps coach Ralph Friedgen, who also used the Upper Marlboro native as a tight end at one point of the game in a short-yardage situation. "They tried to run around him on reverses, he was there. They went up in tight, he was there. He seemed to be everywhere."

On third-and-13 just before halftime and with the Wolfpack already leading 10-0 and on the Terps' 14, quarterback Jay Davis threw a pass in the flat to Reggie Davis. But as soon as the ball arrived, Merriman, who is nicknamed "Lights Out," drilled Reggie Davis to force the incompletion.

Terps stop run game

The Maryland defense held North Carolina State to 95 yards on 45 carries (2.1 yards per rush), though the Wolfback's running game was without its top performer.

Junior T.A. McLendon, who came into the game leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 110-yard average, aggravated a hamstring injury in his lone carry of the game, a 9-yard run on the Wolfpack's first possession.

The Wolfpack used a number of runners to replace the carries normally reserved for McLendon with Reggie Davis (45 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries) having the most success.

Podlesh comes up short

As well as he has kicked the past two weeks, Terps sophomore punter Adam Podlesh couldn't be any less satisfied with his current role.

"As much as I enjoy punting and that's what I train for, I tell people I'd like to be holding [on field goals and extra points] a little more," he said.

Podlesh, who entered the game as the second-leading kicker in the ACC, averaged 45.2 yards on his 11 punts, including a 70-yarder. In the loss to Georgia Tech, he punted nine times for a 49.8-yard average.

Et cetera

Nick Novak's 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter gave him 371 points for his career, moving him into a tie for seventh place on the NCAA career scoring list. ... Maryland left tackle Stephon Heyer dislocated his kneecap in the first quarter, but did return.

Next for Terps

Matchup: Maryland (3-3, 1-2) vs. Clemson (2-4, 1-3)

Site: Clemson (S.C.) Memorial Stadium

When: Saturday, noon

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Yesterday: Clemson beat Utah State, 35-6.

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