Heyward-Bey goes to great lengths for UM

Freshman's 96-yard TD reception holds up as game-winning points

November 12, 2006|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN REPORTER

COLLEGE PARK -- Professional football scouts are almost certain to gather one day, stopwatches in hand, to time Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey in a pre-draft workout.

Unless he loses a step or two, it was discovered yesterday that the freshman runs the 96-yard dash in 22 seconds.

That's how long it took Heyward-Bey to reach the end zone in the second quarter after quarterback Sam Hollenbach got the snap from his 4-yard line on first down. And that's how long it took for a seemingly nasty predicament, a team backed up near its goal line, to turn into jubilation.

Heyward-Bey blew past Miami cornerback Glenn Sharpe along the right sideline, caught the pass and became part of the longest completion in Maryland history.

The play, which provided the Terrapins' last points in a 14-13 victory at Byrd Stadium, also accounted for the longest completion ever against the Hurricanes. And it concluded with Hollenbach leaping into the arms of tight end Joey Haynos, while other players made a mad dash for Heyward-Bey.

"I knew they were going to play the run," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said, "so I took a shot."

Hollenbach faked the handoff and dropped back into the end zone before lofting a perfect strike to Heyward-Bey, who had three steps on the defender.

"It was a play we've been working on all week. We finally connected on it," Heyward-Bey said. "I didn't run the best route in the world, but Sam threw it up there and I made a play."

That's one play, 96 yards, 22 seconds.

On this day, it would typify Maryland's scoring drives. And the long-distance relationship between Hollenbach and Heyward-Bey.

The duo hooked up twice on Maryland's first possession - the only two plays needed for a 7-0 lead. Heyward-Bey gained 4 yards on the first reception, then beat Miami cornerback Randy Phillips along the opposite sideline for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Phillips fell as Heyward-Bey made the catch and ran unchallenged. At the time, it was the longest reception of his college career, and Hollenbach's longest completion this season.

Two plays, 69 yards, 1:06.

"He checked out of the play and I just ran under the ball, caught it, touchdown," Heyward-Bey said.

Said Miami coach Larry Coker: "We gave up 65-yard and 96-yard touchdown passes, which is unconscionable. Other than that, we played great defense."

The Hurricanes spent most of the game in Maryland territory, while the Terps made quick visits to Miami's side. Get in, get out. No loitering.

Miami held the ball for 21:37 in the first half, compared with 8:23 for Maryland. Of Hollenbach's five completions in the first half, four went to Heyward-Bey, totaling 173 yards. On one possession that stretched from the third to the fourth quarter, Miami put together a 19-play drive that ate up 10:31, but only resulted in a field goal that allowed Maryland to keep the lead.

Take away its two scoring passes, and Maryland had 97 yards of total offense on the day.

Take away Heyward-Bey, and the Terps lose.

"He's growing day by day," Friedgen said. "He's just starting to become a very good football player. He has something we haven't had in a while - world-class speed. The progress he has made from the first practice to now is phenomenal."

Asked what impresses him most about his young receiver, Friedgen replied, "That he's got three more years."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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