By Todd McElwee
In Maryland's season opener, Da'Rel Scott trotted onto the Byrd Stadium field as the Terps' starting tailback. Exactly four months later, the first team All-ACC selection stood solemnly on the sidelines after being benched for the Terps' season finale in Boise at the Humanitarian Bowl. Finally after more than a half of football, Scott found his way back onto the field. Making up for lost time, he posted a school bowl rushing record in leading Maryland past Nevada 42-35.
"I just felt as though I had to run with a purpose," Scott said.
Scott was one of seven -- Trey Covington, Derek Drummond, Moise Fokou, Jamari McCollough, Danny Oquendo and Antwine Perez -- team members suspended due to a variety of curfew infractions which occurred during their time in Boise.
"Five percent of guys thought they didn't need to listen to me, that they could get bed checked and sneak out," Terps head coach Ralph Friedgen said. "This isn't my first rodeo."
Nearly three quarters of Tuesday's contest had passed until Scott, Maryland's Most Valuable Player, got his first touch, a 14 yard rush for a first down. Knotted at 28-28 early in the fourth, he barreled 49 yards down the right flank for a 35-28 advantage. Less than five minutes later, he padded the Terps' margin with a two-yard push.
Finishing with 174 yards on just 14 carries, Scott (1,133 rushing yards) became the seventh player in school history to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark. More impressively the sophomore outgained the Wolfpack's vaunted ground attack, which ranked second nationally, by 60 yard (174-160).
"He just ran through us like we weren't there," Nevada coach Chris Ault said.
Tuesday's back and forth shootout tied a Humanitarian Bowl record for points. The barrage began with a Adrian Cannon 59 yard touchdown reception from Chris Turner on the Terps' initial drive.
After Maryland botched the extra point, Nevada pulled ahead on a one yard Colin Kaepernick to Wellington connection. Torrey Smith turned the blue turf of Bronco Stadium white, with a 99 yard return to pay dirt on the following kick. With the jaunt Smith broke Duke's Tijan Redmond's ACC's single season mark for kickoff return yards in a season with 1,089.
With numerous starters relegated to the bench, key reserves paid dividends for Maryland. Morgan Green and Ronnie Tyler joined fellow backup Cannon by adding scores for the Terps on a 53 yard run and 14 yard reception respectively.
"You saw some guys play that probably wouldn't have been playing and they made some plays that made us a better football team," Friedgen said.
Kaepernick brought his squad within a score on a 15-yard keeper with 2:19 remaining. The Wolfpack attempted an onside kick which was recovered by the Terps who ran off the clock.
Turner finished 13-of-27 for 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Alex Wujack paced the defense with 12 tackles. Jeff Allen and Kenny Tate each picked Kaepernick, who was 24-of-47 for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
Posted December 31, 2008