Terps in ACC running despite being run over

maryland

November 08, 2008|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Maryland players needed to reflect on the Atlantic Coast Conference standings to soothe their battered egos after being embarrassed by Virginia Tech - the Terps' third loss in four games on the road.

Even with the 23-13 defeat, the Terps are tied with Wake Forest and Florida State for the Atlantic Division lead. Maryland holds the tiebreaker advantage over Wake by virtue of its 26-0 win over the Demon Deacons on Oct. 18. The Terrapins host Florida State on Nov. 22.

"We're still right there to take the ACC," said linebacker Alex Wujciak, who led the team with 13 tackles.

But it was hard for Maryland players not to feel dejected after surrendering 273 rushing yards to the Hokies - including a school-record 253 to redshirt freshman Darren Evans.

Evans had been solid but hadn't broken 100 yards in a game until Thursday night.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said he figured that Virginia Tech, which has serious injury problems at quarterback, would emphasize the run. The Hokies had 127 passing yards Thursday night.

"I talked to them all week about stopping the run," Friedgen said. "But Virginia Tech ran the ball down our throats. There were people there. We just couldn't make the tackle."

Maryland entered the game ranked ninth of 12 ACC teams in rushing defense.

The first half paralleled Maryland's game Sept. 27 at Clemson. The Terps trailed 17-6 at halftime in that one after giving up huge chunks of rushing yardage to C.J. Spiller and James Davis. The Terps came back to win, 20-17.

Maryland trailed 17-3 at the half against the Hokies, but this time its comeback-the Terps scored 10 straight third-quarter points-fell short.

Trailing 20-10, Maryland created an opportunity when Torrey Smith blocked a punt in the third quarter, giving the Terps the ball at their 45-yard line.

Friedgen said Smith "came in clean" and could have made a great play instead of a good one.

Instead of blocking the ball as it came off the punter's foot, Smith went "for the thigh," Friedgen said. The ball went forward 15 yards - far enough that the Terps weren't in scoring range.

Maryland has now lost all three of its night games this season and all its road games except the Clemson contest.

"It was exactly what we didn't need," quarterback Chris Turner said. "It was pretty deflating."

But Turner also said: "I think the future's still bright. Our fate is still in our hands."

maryland rewind

Replay

Darrius Heyward-Bey takes a short pass in the third quarter, turns upfield and races 63 yards for Maryland's first and only touchdown. The wide receiver had five catches for 92 yards.

Erase

Virginia Tech crowd favorite Greg Boone, a bulky tight end used occasionally at quarterback, catches a 5-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to cap an 11-play drive that took 6:22. The drive was led by the running of freshman Darren Evans.

Fast forward

The Terps (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) face North Carolina (6-2, 3-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Byrd Stadium.

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