Terrapins Fall in Rivalry Game to WVU

The Terps played hard against a top 10 team but mistakes killed their chances at a win.

The Maryland Terrapins fell by a score of 31-21 to the No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers in a close game that came down to the last few minutes.

The Mountaineers quickly jumped to a 14-0 lead over the Terps. Maryland's quarterback Perry Hills was sacked trying to hand the ball off and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by West Virginia's Doug Riggs and returned 51 yards for a touchdown. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith then hooked up with wide receiver Tavon Austin on a slant route. A missed tackle by a Terrapin defender allowed Austin to find an opening on the sideline to run the ball into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown.

The Terps then responded with a touchdown pass from Hills to wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a 42-yard touchdown pass, the longest play from scrimmage for the Terps this season. On the following play, Hills was avoiding pressure and was able to dump the ball off to tight end Matt Furstenburg, who took the ball for 29 yards to extend the drive. A 12-yard touchdown pass from Hills to Marcus Leak tied the game up at 14-14.

The Mountaineers drove down into Maryland's red zone, but after not surrendering a single sack this season, West Virginia's offensive line allowed Maryland's A.J. Francis to run through them to sack Smith for a 12-yard loss, holding the Mountaineers to a field goal.

West Virginia was able to increase their lead before the half with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Austin. Austin was wide open in the end zone as the Terps' secondary was playing closer up, leading to an easy catch by Austin and giving West Virginia a 24-14 lead going into the half.

The Terps' defense stepped up big in the third quarter, holding the Mountaineers scoreless. The Mountaineers had 15 straight quarters dating back to Dec. 1, 2011. Maryland linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield recorded the second sack of the game, dropping Smith for a loss of nine yards and leading to a three-and-out.

The Terps had a chance to cut into the deficit, but mistakes by the Terps' wide receivers and secondary prevented them from getting back in the game. Leak had a chance to extend a Maryland drive but dropped a pass on a third-and-19, forcing the Terps to punt. On the following drive, Leak caught the ball and made his way to a first down, but fumbled the ball on the way down, giving the Mountaineers the ball back on their own 33-yard line. Smith then found Austin who was wide open on a streak route for a 34-yard touchdown.

The Terps started to make a comeback, with Hills finding Diggs for a 56-yard touchdown run. Diggs caught the ball and took it all the way, getting some help from his receivers who made some key blocks along the way for his second touchdown of the game. The Terps' defense forced a three-and-out on the Mountaineers' next possession, giving the offense another chance to score.

The Terps could not do anything though, finding themselves in a fourth-and-long situation. With the offense needing to get 21 yards for a first down, Hills launched a deep ball to the middle of the field that was picked off by West Virginia's Wes Tonkery, ending the game.

In a game that saw a lot of physical play, a cheap shot by West Virginia's defense on Perry Hills. The officials had blown the play dead for a false start, but a Mountaineer defender delivered an unexpected big hit on Hills. No foul was called on West Virginia and Hills was taken out of the game for a play and was replaced by quarterback Devin Burns. He returned after one play.

Hills completed 20 passes out of 29 attempts for 305 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Brandon Ross led all running backs with 52 yards off 20 carries and Stefon Diggs had three receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Maryland's run defense held up, holding West Virginia to 25 yards on the ground. Their pass defense was often missing as Smith picked apart the secondary with help from Tavon Austin, who had 13 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns. Smith finished with 338 yards and three touchdown.

The Terps will have the next week off and will host Wake Forest at home in College Park the following weekend.


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