Maryland routed by Virginia Tech

Terps fail to score offensive touchdown in 36-9 loss to Hokies

November 15, 2009|By Jeff Barker | jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK — - Jamarr Robinson was chased all over the field Saturday, but the elusive Maryland quarterback ultimately couldn't escape Virginia Tech, which dealt the Terrapins their fifth straight loss, 36-9, in a game that was one-sided from the opening possession.

Robinson, subbing for the injured Chris Turner (knee), got his first career start and provided most of Maryland's offensive highlights with his legs. Robinson rushed for 129 yards - accounting for all but 3 yards of Maryland's rushing total - some of it on designed runs and some when pressured out of the pocket. It was the first time a Maryland quarterback surpassed 100 yards since Shaun Hill did it in 2001.

But Robinson, sacked four times in the first half alone, couldn't get the Terps (2-8, 1-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) into the end zone - the only touchdown was provided by the defense in the fourth quarter. Maryland has gone six straight quarters without an offensive touchdown.

It was the Hokies who did most of the running and nearly all the celebrating. Running back Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech's stellar freshman, rushed for 126 yards and one touchdown, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw three first-half touchdown passes.

Maryland is having its worst season under coach Ralph Friedgen, who began here in 2001. His previous high for losses came in 2007, when the Terps finished 6-7 after losing in the Emerald Bowl.

Maryland has lost five straight to Virginia Tech by a combined score of 197-65.

Friedgen was left Saturday to address the divergent fortunes of the Terps and the Hokies (7-3, 4-2). "There is a gap right now," the coach said. "One of the things that I hope that will close it is when some of our younger guys mature and grow up. We have to go out and recruit, [too]."

Friedgen said Maryland played with low energy in the first half, missed "so many" tackles and saw safety Kenny Tate (high ankle sprain) and punter Travis Baltz (broken finger) suffer injuries that will likely end their seasons.

"I'm seeing plays I haven't seen in my whole coaching career. You just wonder what spell are we under," Friedgen said.

Maryland began the game offensively with two three-and-outs. The Terps trailed 14-0 by the time they made a first down or Robinson completed a pass.

Robinson, a redshirt sophomore, said he was "fair" in his first start. He completed 12 of 32 passes for 104 yards.

"Jamarr played his heart out; he played well enough for us to win," said wide receiver Torrey Smith, who had four catches for 55 yards. "Jamarr definitely showed today that he can play at this level."

But Friedgen said the quarterback needs to work on reading defenses. Robinson agreed that "I could have made more plays."

"We did our best to protect [me], and the rest I had to make something out of nothing or use my ability to escape," Robinson said. "We were moving the ball fairly well. We just couldn't get it into the end zone."

Robinson had little running help behind a porous offensive line that allowed six sacks. Davin Meggett was the next leading rusher for Maryland with four carries for 4 yards.

The Hokies were cheered by thousands of their own fans scattered throughout Byrd Stadium. The stadium was a mix of Maryland black - the Terps asked fans to wear black, too - and Virginia Tech maroon and orange.

"With the crowd roaring, you just feel it," said Virginia Tech's Williams, who has 11 rushing touchdowns this season. "You just get happy."

Maryland didn't score a touchdown until defensive end Jared Harrell recovered Taylor's fumble in the Virginia Tech end zone to make it 33-9 with 11:25 remaining.

Maryland hasn't scored an offensive touchdown since Turner's 1-yard run in the second quarter of last week's loss to North Carolina State.

Turner, the fifth-year senior, saw his streak of 21 consecutive starts end Saturday. He wore a headset and ball cap on the sideline along with a black jersey and black pants. Maryland was also again missing tailback Da'Rel Scott (wrist), who might return for the last two games against Florida State and Boston College.

The tone of the game was set quickly. Virginia Tech drove 71 yards in 10 plays on its opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Taylor hit Jarrett Boykin on a 30-yard pass to the 1-yard line, beating cornerback Cameron Chism, who turned toward the ball too late. Williams ran it in on the next play.

That wasn't the only series in which Maryland defensive backs were beaten. Virginia Tech's lead became 27-3 after Taylor threw over the middle to Boykin midway through the second quarter. Safety Jamari McCollough swiped at the ball and missed, leaving Boykin to race into the end zone to complete a 64-yard play.

"My eyes light up when there's one-on-one coverage because I know they can go up there and make a great catch," said Taylor, the quarterback.

Friedgen, who wore a tired expression after the game, said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, a longtime friend, told him to "hang in there."

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