Terps wake up enough to win

UM prevails in error-filled game for first ACC victory

Maryland 22 Wake Forest 12

Acc & State

College football

September 25, 2005|By Heather A. Dinich | Heather A. Dinich,Sun Reporter

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As the entire Maryland football team gathered before a lively crowd of lingering home fans near the end zone of Groves Stadium and raised their helmets in celebration, all that seemed to matter was their first conference win - not how they got it.

Maryland and Wake Forest made numerous mistakes yesterday, but on an unusually cool and hazy day, the young Terps made fewer, and it was just enough to leave town with a 22-12 Atlantic Coast Conference win before a thin homecoming crowd of 26,022.

It was the seventh consecutive time that Maryland (2-2, 1-1 ACC) has beaten Wake Forest (1-3, 0-1), and the Terps did it with only one offensive touchdown.

"We've got a lot of work to do," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We're nowhere [near] a finished product, but I'd rather have things to work on and win, than things to work on and lose.

"As long as we have more points than them, I'm happy."

The Terps scored 10 points off turnovers, despite being in the red zone five times. Kicker Dan Ennis continued his perfect season and kept them in the game by making all three of his field-goal attempts. And cornerback Josh Wilson scored on a 20-yard fumble recovery.

Their 13-3 halftime lead was padded by Wake Forest's mistakes, but it was hardly as if the Terps didn't give the Demon Deacons a chance to redeem themselves.

Wilson fumbled on a punt return in the second quarter, giving possession back to Wake Forest at midfield, but two holding penalties kept the Demon Deacons from doing anything with it.

Two possessions later, Maryland gave Wake Forest another gift when quarterback Sam Hollenbach was intercepted by Alphonso Smith on the Demon Deacons' 8-yard line.

Instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, though, Wake Forest erased what could have been a 73-yard touchdown pass when Cory Randolph was penalized 10 yards for an illegal block in the back. On the next play, running back Micah Andrews fumbled and Wilson ran it back 20 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

Wake Forest lost a fumble on its next possession, too. This time, Maryland nose tackle Conrad Bolston recovered it. Maryland took over on the Demon Deacons' 15-yard line, but lost 5 yards on three plays and settled for a 37-yard field goal from Ennis.

Bolston said it was the Terps' best defensive performance of the season, as Maryland held Wake Forest to 244 yards of total offense. Demon Deacons senior Chris Barclay, who scored four touchdowns a week ago against East Carolina, led all running backs with 86 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

"We were ready for their schemes," Bolston said. "Real ready. We were getting up the field and the linebackers were coming down real hard, and the [defensive backs] tackled real well today. A win is a win. We needed this one to get 50-50."

The Terps were successful on only three of 12 third-down conversions, and a 15-yard personal foul sustained a Wake Forest drive that ended in the Demon Deacons' only touchdown.

On its second possession in the third quarter, Wake Forest had the ball on Maryland's 38-yard line on third-and-22 when Maryland free safety Christian Varner went helmet-to-helmet with receiver Nate Morton out of bounds.

Varner's penalty prolonged the drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown run by Barclay, his fifth of the season. Defensive coordinator Gary Blackney benched Varner, but it only lasted about two plays.

"We can't be doing these things and keeping people in the game," Friedgen said. "I'm coaching my butt off. They know if they screw up, I'm going to be after them."

There's no question Maryland accomplished some of its goals and showed flashes of improvement desperately needed on both sides of the ball. The Terps were able to hold the conference's top rushing team to 111 yards on the ground, the fewest the ACC's statistically worst rushing defense has allowed this year.

Offensively, Maryland's running game began to emerge, as a somewhat surprising performance from Keon Lattimore helped the Terps accumulate more rushing yards in one game (162) than in their previous two combined.

Lattimore, who has spent all season at third string behind starter Mario Merrills and backup Lance Ball, led the team with 76 yards rushing on 15 carries. More importantly, he scored the Terps' only offensive touchdown.

"I just wanted to get in," Lattimore said. "I wanted to score for the team. I went in there and did what I had to do."

Friedgen said Hollenbach struggled, completing 12 of 22 passes for 169 yards and one interception. He was high on some of his throws, slow getting in and out of the huddle, and was penalized once for a delay of game.

Still, he said none of Maryland's mistakes took away from the win.

"It's a lot of stuff we know we can make plays, but for whatever reason didn't get made," Friedgen said. "I know that kind of sounds like an excuse, but it is better than we didn't know what to do, or they shut us down."

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

Maryland 3 10 3 6 - 22

Wake Forest 0 3 7 2 - 12

First quarter M-FG Ennis 23, 10:00.

Second quarter M-Wilson 20 fumble return (Ennis kick), 4:00. M-FG Ennis 37, 1:50. WF-FG Swank 42, 0:00.

Third quarter M-FG Ennis 25, 7:31. WF-Barclay 4 run (Swank kick), 2:36.

Fourth quarter M-Lattimore 3 run (pass failed), 13:19. WF-Safety, 11:24. A-26,022.

M WF

First downs 19 14

Rushes-yards 46-162 39-111

Passing 169 133

Comp-Att-Int 12-22-1 18-35-0

Return Yards 33 14

Punts-Avg. 6-50 8-47

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-2

Penalties-Yards 4-45 5-50

Time of Possession 30:30 29:30 Rushing-Maryland, Lattimore 15-76, Ball 17-51, Hollenbach 6-45, Merrills 6-1, Team 1-(-5), Walker 1-(-6). Wake Forest, Barclay 20-86, Andrews 6-23, Mauk 11-8, Morton 1-1, Davis 1-(-7). Passing-Maryland, Hollenbach 12-22-1-169. Wake Forest, 18-35-0-133. Receiving-Maryland, Melendez 3-52, Fenner 3-33, Walker 2-47, Davis 2-28, Ball 2-9. Wake Forest, Morton 5-45, McWhite 4-23, Davis 3-8, Belton 2-20, Marion 1-16, Boldin 1-14, Selmon 1-8, Barclay 1-(-1).

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