COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland senior nose tackle Darius Kilgo usually goes and checks with his position coach after each game about his game grade. This week, so upset with the West Virginia loss, he skipped it.
Of all weeks, though, this would have been a good one to check with defensive line coach Chad Wilt.
When asked on Sept. 16, Kilgo had what he admitted a career game so far, despite the loss, blocking a Josh Lambert 43-yard field goal with 4:16 to play to keep the close game knotted at 37-37 and Maryland alive. But that was just the start, as he also recorded his first sack of the season, recovered a fumble after an Avery Thompson strip, had a fourth-down stonewall of a WVU back and notched four tackles. Not bad for the senior who is splitting reps (he got about 45 vs. WVU) with fellow senior Keith Bowers at nose.
Four days later, Kilgo was still smarting over the loss but even more motivated for this week's tussle with 2-0 Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
"That was definitely one of my most productive games," Kilgo said. "I was just trying to go out there and play to the best of my ability and tick off at the end of the game. Unfortunately, we still lost, but it was one of the best games that I played since I have been here."
And Kilgo said the field goal block came from good scouting.
"Going into the game, we knew that one of their weakest points was one of their guards on their field goal block," Kilgo said. "So my main thing was just to get off the ball, that's something we always emphasize. Field goal block, we want to get good push and get our hand up. I mean, it's just something I took advantage of. I knew the guy in front of me was a little light on his feet. So it's one thing I tried to take advantage of and it paid off."
"I thought Darius played well," head coach Randy Edsall said on Sept. 16. "I think it helps that we have him and Keith [Bowers] alternating, keeps both those guys fresh. But he did a good job of blocking the field goal."
Kilgo said the split-reps system is going well so far.
"I think it is working out pretty well for us," Kilgo said. "We're both able to stay fresh during the game and we're never really dog-tired. It gives us an opportunity to get our breath back and talk about anything we see in the game and just work from there."
Kilgo said the sack of WVU quarterback Clint Trickett was his next-most important play. He hadn't had a statistical game like WVU since last year at UConn, when he had a career high eight tackles. It was a precarious game for Maryland against WVU, and every Kilgo big play added up as they tried to stay in it.
Said Terps left tackle Michael Dunn, who gets to see him tangle at practice each day and saw Kilgo "with his big hand reach up in the air" on the blocked field goal:
"Oh, he works really hard," Dunn said. "He's one of those guys I have always been impressed with. Him and Sal [Conaboy], our center, they go at it every day during practice. They always have good battles. And I think that's one of the things that make both our lines better, we never get complacent. The offensive line and defensive line, we always work hard at practice, we don't take it easy on one another, and that's what gets people better."
Terps junior running back Brandon Ross says Kilgo "has a quiet confidence" and doesn't do much talking, "but he always shows out on the field." Ross said Kilgo is a "very loyal teammate, one of those kind of guys he's going to definitely go out of his way to look out for your own best interests, you know be one of your brothers."
"I think they are feeding off of each other, a one-two punch," Ross added. "It's definitely good to have that kind of depth at the nose guard position."
Kilgo said, looking back at WVU the defense, which gave up nearly 700 yards, wasn't on the same page enough on every play. On SU and its spread offense and big backs coming this week, he said.
"You know, watching them on film they are a very efficient offense," Kilgo said. "They are very consistent, they have a pretty good quarterback and I believe their offense runs through their quarterback. It will be another challenge for us, but if we have a good week of practice I think we will be just fine."
Beyond the loss, the only other setback was his parents, who usually make every home game, couldn't make it up from North Carolina for this one.
Kilgo said the team still has "a bad taste in our mouth" and has to prepare for a "hostile environment" at SU. He said earlier games this season he didn't believe he had played up to his ability, which also inspired him against WVU. On the season, he has 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He is also on the Terrapin Council leadership committee and has emerged as more of a leader this season.
"I just went into the game saying I wanted to be that guy making plays on the ball and being a factor on the defense. And at the end of the day that's what I think I did," Kilgo said.
"And I think 'Kil' can always play better. So now take that and build on it and play better this week."
Kilgo Hopes to Build on WVU Performance
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