D.J. Adams leads Terps past Cavaliers, 42-23

Maryland breaks the trend, earns seventh win to set up a big prime-time matchup against Atlantic Division rival Florida State Saturday at Byrd Stadium.

Up four points in the second quarter, the Maryland offense took the field on fourth-and-one. Danny O’Brien handed the ball off to D.J. Adams, who eventually ran it into the end-zone for a one-yard touchdown.

The game was in their hands, much like the attitude the Terps had shown all week when asked about their chances of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference. And as the scoreboard read 42-23 as time expired, they were one step closer to that goal.

Adams, who had come into this contest having three touchdowns to his name, matched his career total. The redshirt freshman running back led the team with 13 carries, which translated into 34 yards on the afternoon.

The Terps continued to pound the ball with Adams, as he brought about a specific package the coaching staff had tailored to his skill set with defensive tackle Zach Kerr subbing in at fullback. More often than not, it was the left side of the offensive line, led by R.J. Dill and a bruising fullback making holes for Adams.

It was the Maryland offense clicking on all cylinders, accounting for five touchdowns, two of which were O’Brien passes. O’Brien found his wide receivers early and often against the Cavs, connecting on two passes of over 50 yards to both Torrey Smith and Quinton McCree, His 289 passing yards were more than double the total he threw in last week’s loss to Miami, and his 12-yard quarterback draw was the first rushing touchdown in his career.

Smith’s 101-yard first half performance notched his sixth 100-yard effort in his career, ranking fourth-most in school history alongside the likes of Vernon Davis. The wideout showed everyone watching why he’s a threat every time the ball is in his hands, and why a pass simply in his vicinity can result in a big player. A 12-yard touchdown pass at the end of the fourth quarterback was merely icing on the cake.

The final two scores by Maryland were set up for the only two turnovers in the game – interceptions by Eric Franklin and Adrian Moten. Conversely, the Terrapins did not turn the ball over at all.

Marc Verica, who was coming off a 400-yard passing game against Duke a week earlier, was limited to 267 yards and one touchdown, on which he found redshirt freshman tight end Jeremiah Mathis for his third career catch and his first score. Last year, Mathis was playing under Bill McGregor at DeMatha Catholic.

While the senior signal-caller could not shine on Virginia’s Senior Day, it was fellow senior, running back Keith Payne, putting together his fifth-lowest rushing total of the season. The back ranking in the top five of total touchdowns in the nation was limited to a pedestrian 63 yards and no trips to the end-zone.

It is hard to point to Verica or Payne for the team’s loss; an abundance of penalties plagued the Cavs throughout the game. After having committed 11 penalties in each of their last two contests, the team imploded for 16 against the Terps for a whopping 143 yards. The record, if you were wondering, is 17 penalties, which the team totaled in 1968 against Davidson.

The Terps’ seventh win on the season more than tripled their win total from 2009, and keeps them up to pace with the N.C. State Wolfpack who obliterated Wake Forest earlier in the day. It was the second- win in Charlottesville, VA since 1992, and ended a three-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.

Next up for the Terps is a matchup in primetime against Atlantic Division rival Florida State at Byrd Stadium.

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