Terps Claw Out Win Over Tigers
By David Snyder
COLLEGE PARK--Despite Maryland’s early season misfortunes -- from the bundles of turnovers and mental mistakes to the painful non-conference losses -- the Terps can breathe a collective sigh of relief. They are unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Terrapins edged out Clemson, 24-21, in front of more than 46,000 fans that were treated to a wild and unique finish.
Down three points the entire fourth quarter, the Tigers’ were handed chance after chance to tie the game. However, kicker Richard Jackson couldn’t convert field goals of 47 and 48 yards, and was denied a third attempt when linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield’s sack with seconds to play was ruled a fumble and recovered by Maryland.
“I thought our kids played with tremendous heart today,” head coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I was praying we’d find a way to win this because of how hard they have worked. They needed to experience some success, and this was a good football team we played.”
Defensively, the Terps (2-3, 1-0 ACC) turned in their best effort of the season, limiting Clemson to 274 total yards and 4-of-16 on third down conversions. Aside from a C.J. Spiller electrifying 92-yard kickoff return touchdown, Maryland held the Tigers (2-3, 1-2) in check in terms of the big play, holding Spiller to 79 total yards on 20 touches and speedy wide out Jacoby Ford to 37 yards on five receptions.
“This is by far the best four quarters we have played,” said Hartsfield, who came virtually unblocked to drill quarterback Kyle Parker and dislodge the ball. “As a defense we just played our assignments and made plays.”
One of the bigger plays of the game was my made by punt returner Tony Logan. With the Terps ahead, 17-13, Logan fielded a short kick on one hop and sprinted 43 yards, cutting back across the field, to the 1-yard line. Three plays later, running back Davin Meggett barreled into the end zone to put Maryland up by 11, capping off a run of 21 unanswered points.
The Terps two other touchdown drives came on masterpieces by quarterback Chris Turner and the Maryland offense. The senior quarterback, who finished the day going 19-for-26 passing with 215 yards, two scores and no interceptions, led the Terps on consecutive nine-play drives of 75 and 81 yards to finish out the half.
“It started up front. The offensive line gave me time to move the ball and we were sustaining drives – getting first downs,” Turner said. “It wasn’t always the perfect play, but we were getting the ball out quick and making plays.”
The offensive did make two crucial mistakes in the fourth quarter. Turner failed to convert on a fourth and inches sneak inside the Terps’ 30-yard line, and Meggett fumbled the ball away on the following drive, but both errors were rendered meaningless by the missed field goals.
“They gave us multiple opportunities to win the game,” said Spiller, who was held to his second lowest output of the season. “Everybody is stunned. We’re stunned, Clemson fans are stunned.”
Posted Oct. 3, 2009