Terps Hold On For Key ACC Win
By David Snyder
For the second consecutive week, the 23rd ranked Maryland Terrapins squeaked by with a one-point victory, defeating the Miami Hurricanes 14-13. The Terps improve to 8-2 overall and remain tied with Wake Forest for first in the ACC Atlantic division.
The Terrapins continued their streak of dramatic finishes when they punted the ball to the Hurricanes with 1:30 remaining in the game. Miami return man Bruce Johnson received the punt on the 15-yard line, opted not to fair catch, and was immediately drilled by Isaiah Gardner. The ball was jarred loose and J.J. Justice secured the victory with the recovery.
Miami honored the death of fellow teammate Bryan Pata by playing an extremely physical brand of football. Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen made it clear that the Hurricanes were the best defense the Terps have played all season. Despite dominating time of possession (37:09 to 22:51), the Canes could not overcome 175 yards receiving and two early touchdowns by Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The red-shirt freshman's first score came on the second play of Maryland's opening drive when he and senior quarterback Sam Hollenbach connected on a 65-yard pass, over the head of Miami corner Glenn Sharpe.
Two drives later, pinned inside their own 5-yard line, Hollenbach and Heyward-Bey hooked up again, this time for 96 yards, again beating Sharpe deep to jump out to a 14-0 lead.
"I felt like I was in high school again, back during my track days," said Heyward-Bey.
Without quarterback Kyle Wright and wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, the Hurricanes relied on a steady ground game from Javarris James and Tyrone Moss, who combined for 122 yards on 34 carries, and the dual threat ability of sophomore QB Kirby Freeman.
"It's always fun to play against mobile quarterbacks," said sophomore linebacker Erin Henderson. "It's just another dimension they bring to the game that makes it a little more difficult for you to defend. I think we did a decent job containing him."
Freeman's elusiveness made him tough to stop on the ground, as he rushed nine times for 60 yards and rolled out of the pocket on several occasions to gain 140 yards through the air. Trailing 14-3, Freeman found wide out Ryan Moore on a fade pattern for a 28-yard score.
In the second half the Miami defense shut out the Terps, allowing only 53 total yards. The Canes were able to stuff the run while at the same time keeping Heyward-Bey in check with consistent double coverage.
The Terrapin defense answered, letting up only a field goal in Miami's one red zone opportunity in the second half.
After Maryland's fifth 3-and-out of the game, Miami took over at the Terp 39-yard line with 4:20 to play and the score 14-13. On 3rd and 9 Freeman's pass was tipped in the air by a diving Josh Wilson and intercepted by defensive end Trey Covington, who kept his feet inbounds near the sideline.
The Hurricanes would have had about 1:20 remaining and 85 yards to drive had Johnson fair caught the punt. Instead two successive kneel downs brought an end to what Henderson called a "very emotional game."
- Terrapin junior guard Donnie Woods was taken off the field by stretcher with a neck injury. He was transported to a local area hospital.
- The 96-yard touchdown reception by Heyward-Bey was the longest pass play in Maryland history and the longest pass play allowed in Miami history.
- After the game head coach Ralph Friedgen expressed that the Maryland players have decided to donate their per-diem to a fund for the family of Bryan Pata.
Posted November 12, 2006