Disappointing Loss Drops WVU To 3-2

Bottle the run, beat West Virginia. It's the strategy now, as Maryland stuffed the spread and exploded for 28 first quarter points to defeat WVU 48-17 Saturday at Mountaineer Field.

Maryland became the second team to stop the WVU rushing game and the second team to use the same formula to beat the Mountaineers this year. UM developed an eerily similar feel to Wisconsin by combining the ability to stop the run with solid run blocking and completions to wide open receivers.

The bigger Terps (4-2, 0-1 ACC) used the muscle to physically beat the Mountaineers (3-2) up front and hold Avon Cobourne in check while being able to run themselves.

Scott McBrien's return proved eventful only for the junior himself as he completed 8 of 18 passes for 162 yards and 1 touchdown. He threw for 135 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in the first half.

McBrien was helped by freshman running back Josh Allen, who racked up 99 yards on 11 carries and scored twice in the first quarter. Allen, in carrying 16 times for 116 yards, became the first Maryland freshman, true or redshirted, to rush for more than 100 yards in a game since 1998.

Maryland added a punt return for touchdown and McBrien's two scores to tally 28 first-quarter points. It was UM's most since it tallied 29 against Duke in October of 1982, a span of 225 games.

The Terps would have had more, but West Virginia forced two turnovers – both in Terrapin territory -- and got just three points out of them.

Cobourne was also bottled up for the first 30 minutes. Outside of a 43-yard burst up the middle in the second quarter, the nation's leading rusher had 42 first half yards. He finished with 123 and a touchdowns.

"Offensively, we weren't pressing the line of scrimmage. We were hit and miss, and mostly miss, on offense," said a visibly disappointed Rich Rodriguez after the game.

Maryland and McBrien got the lead on its first possession. The Terps moved 44 yards in four plays with McBrien providing the capper, a 21-yard end around for the score.

West Virginia then nearly got a break on special teams as Angel Estrada forced Steve Suter to fumble the Mountaineer punt. The sophomore was able to recover. The squads exchanged possessions, then Maryland got the break as Allen busted a 70-yard run up the middle to put UM ahead 14-0.

Marshall threw his first interception of the season on the next drive, and on the first play McBrien hit Jafar Williams with a nice 45-yard touchdown catch. Maryland finished off its barrage with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.

By that time West Virginia played itself out of the game. Maryland scored again to lead 35-0. McBrien connected on passes of 28 and 12 yards on the drive. Allen rushed eight times for 25 yards as UM grinded it out on WVU.

The Mountaineers, off a six-play, 72-yard march, broke the shutout on a six-yard Cobourne keeper to make the score 35-7 with 4:25 left before halftime. The big play was Marshall's 23-yard catch-and-run to Travis Garvin.

The Mountaineers forced a three-and-out, but Maryland answered with one of its own.

On the ensuing series Wiley forced a mishandled pitch from McBrien to Allen and Adam Lehnortt recovered.

The Blue and Gold, needing seven points, went nowhere in three plays. Marshall misfired to the end zone on second down and WVU had to settle for a 41-yard Todd James field goal as the half ended for a 35-10 UM lead.

West Virginia then provided hope when it went 59 yards on 14 plays to bring the score to 35-17 on a four-yard rollout pass from Marshall to tight end Tory Johnson with 8:20 left in the third quarter. Marshall and Cobourne combined for 34 yards on the drive.

Maryland was able to answer with a solid drive capped by an 37-yard Nick Novak field goal that stopped the comeback effort with two minutes left in the third quarter. It was sealed when Marshall was intercepted on WVU's next drive by Dominique Foxworth. Novak hit a 46-yard field goal for a 41-17 lead entering the fourth quarter that started the mass exodus by WVU fans.

"I asked them to play with their heads and they did just that," Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen ssaid afterward. "WVU came out with a lot of momentum in the second half. I told my team it was a game of who wanted it more, and we had a good performance today."

In all, WVU proved it couldn't throw without the run as Marshall looked hesitant and unsure in the pocket and missed several open receivers. McBrien, conversely, appeared to have a solid grasp of the more physical Terrapin offense and was able, through no pass rush and cushioning coverage, to pick apart the Blue and Gold.

West Virginia opens Big East play Oct. 12 at Rutgers, a 3:30 p.m. kick. Maryland is at home against Georgia Tech.


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