Turtle Power

The Maryland offense finally found its rhythm. Their fans found the field. The Terrapins (4-4) dominated Florida State's ninth-ranked defense and held off the Seminoles (6-2) to pick up 20-17 victory Saturday afternoon. A partial outpouring of the 52, 203 fans at Byrd Stadium stormed the field to celebrate UM's first ever win over Florida State.

"Nothing lasts forever," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "You win 14 in a row and then it happens when you least expect it."

Trailing 13-3 at the half and 20-10 after the third quarter, Florida State rallied in the fourth when Bowden entered Chris Rix, who led the offense to its only touchdown. Rix's 16-yard strike to Chauncey Stovall gave him his first touchdown pass of the season and trimmed the UM lead to 20-17.

It wasn't enough.

Xavier Beitia missed a pair of game-tying field goal tries in the fourth quarter and the Seminoles were stonewalled on their final drive, an ill-fated march that began at their own 18.

Beitia's try from 52 ricocheted off of the left upright and his 45-yard try with 4:40 to play hooked wide left. The senior also had a second quarter try from 41 yards out blocked.

"The snap was high on the [blocked] try but on the others I felt good," Beitia said. "I don't know what to say."

Maryland's offense – owners of just two touchdowns in their last three games – flashed suddenly prolific. The Terps foiled numerous FSU blitz packages and converted several key third-down conversions. They also tallied five plays that gained 30 yards or more.

"We weren't going to play scared," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "When you play a good team that's how you have to play. You can't go in there tippie-toe."

Maryland quarterback Joel Statham completed 21-of-40 passes for a career-high 333 yards, adding a touchdown on the ground and through the air.

"Some of the plays that haven't been working for us all season and tonight we had some things go our way," Statham said.

None was bigger than his 72-yard touchdown strike to Josh Allen. Just five plays after Antonio Cromartie returned an interception for an FSU score, Statham found Allen in the right flat. Allen did the rest, zigzagging his way downfield for the touchdown, giving Maryland the lead for good at the 11:55 mark in the third.

"When you play on the edge you're going to fall off eventually," FSU safety Pat Watkins said. "We didn't go out there and take care of our responsibilities today and it showed."

Statham's one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the first scored against the FSU defense in 12 quarters.

FSU's offense, on the other hand, has scored just three touchdowns in their last eight quarters.

Starting quarterback Wyatt Sexton completed 14-of-30 passes for 164 yards in three quarters of action before he was benched in favor of Rix. His pair of interceptions were the first picks for Maryland's defense in four games.

"Our timing was on tonight but we just didn't connect," Sexton said. "There was some confusion at times but that was it. We should have had this one."

Florida State returns to Tallahassee next weekend to host Duke. With a two conference losses, the Seminoles are likely out of the running for an ACC Championship and BCS bowl berth.


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