Dominant in Durham

In 2004, the Terps dominated the Duke Blue Devils 55-21, they hope to repeat that this year.

In the midst of a seven-game losing streak to end last season, the Maryland Terrapins went in and lost meekly, 17-13, in a battle against Duke in Durham.

The contest was the teams’ first since 2004, when the Terps blew out the Blue Devils 55-21 despite a number of mistakes and breakdowns.

The performance of Terps’ quarterback Joel Statham served as a microcosm of the team’s performance in 2004. Though he threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns, Statham had to overcome three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

The Terps’ rushing attack complemented Statham with 277 yards on 60 carries. Running backs Sammy Maldonado and Josh Allen ran for 99 and 87 yards, respectively.

In all, the Terps gained a whopping 685 yards from scrimmage compared to a paltry 185 by Duke.

However, a couple huge Maryland mistakes kept Duke in the game in the first half.

After kicker Nick Novak staked the Terps to a 3-0 lead on their first drive, a Maldonado 1-yard run extended Maryland’s lead to 10.

But this advantage was short-lived as Duke defensive back Chris Davis took the ensuing kick 94 yards to cut the lead back to three late in the first quarter.

Another return, this time by the Duke defense, would put the Blue Devils on top midway through the second quarter.

After the offenses traded touchdowns early in the quarter, the Terps, leading 17-14, started a drive from their 29. Statham led the offense to the Duke 23-yard line, before throwing an interception to Blue Devils’ cornerback John Talley.

Talley took the ball 85 yards the other way to give Duke a 21-17 lead.

It was Statham’s second of three picks on the day. His first was also costly, preventing a possible score after the Terps had driven to the Duke five-yard line.

Statham rebounded quickly from the Talley touchdown, however, to take back the lead.

Statham’s passing, combined with effective runs by Maldonado and Allen, helped drive Maryland deep into Duke territory. The Terrapins quarterback then connected with tight end and future NFL first-round draft pick Vernon Davis from 12 yards out to reclaim the lead.

The touchdown was Davis’s second of the day. He was on the receiving end of a Statham 29-yard touchdown strike earlier in the quarter.

Another Novak field goal with seconds remaining at the half extended the Terps’ lead to 27-21.

The second half featured the continuing dominance of Statham and the offense, minus the huge breakdowns leading to Duke scores.

Aside from Statham’s third interception in the middle of the third quarter, the Terrapins offense rolled to blow out the Blue Devils.

Statham hit Davis once again, this time from 40 yards out, to give the big tight end his third touchdown of the game. Davis caught four balls for 101 yards, with three accounting for scores.

After three consecutive possessions ended with turnovers, two by Duke and one by the Terps, Statham connected with his other favorite target of the day, wide receiver Rich Parson, for a 25-yard touchdown. Parson’s catch was one of five on the day, accounting for 94 yards, and capped off a 92-yard drive to give Maryland a commanding 41-21 lead.

The Terps added rushing touchdowns from Allen and Mario Merrills in the fourth quarter to put the cap on a 55-21 victory and 28-0 dominant second half.

While the offense stole the spotlight, the Terps defense was tremendous, holding Duke quarterback Mike Schneider to 102 yards passing on 17 attempts and the Duke backs to 83 yards rushing. The defense only allowed one Blue Devils touchdown, while forcing four turnovers on the day.

Perhaps the most staggering statistic was Maryland’s 100 plays run from scrimmage compared to 46 for Duke. This helped account for over a 2-to-1 time of possession advantage for the Terps.

Though it is unexpected that the Terps offense will put up nearly 700 yards this week, it is important for Maryland to start the ACC schedule with a win against a struggling 1-3 Duke squad.

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