The Washington Times - October 4, 2008, 11:40PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Just got done filing my final dead-tree story.

So let’s get to the wreckage of Maryland’s 31-0 loss.

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Stat No. 1 – beyond the first shutout since 2004 at Virginia, beyond the largest margin of defeat since a 55-6 loss at Virginia Tech – is that Darrius Heyward-Bey touched the ball only once for the second straight game.

This is not a bandwagon I hop onto without some thought. So long as he was getting targeted a fair amount – around, say, 20 percent of the time in the passing game – the whole “he isn’t getting the ball enough” argument seemed a little short-sighted.

But Maryland threw to Heyward-Bey twice – and one of those was on the first play of the game and the pass was batted down at the line.

Maryland did not attempt to get it to Hey-Bey after the 12:19 mark of the first quarter.

“He’s gotta get open,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “There were a lot of passes called for him. You gotta get the protection, you gotta throw the ball. It’s just not that easy. They did a few things tonight.”

That’s swell. And certainly, there’s something to be said of Heyward-Bey not exploiting his opportunities this season. When a receiver catches only 12 of 29 balls thrown his way, that isn’t good. Actually, it’s downright Chambers-like.

(Fantasy football owners who have owned the target black hole known as Chris Chambers can fully appreciate how a guy can turn a 10-target day into a three-catch, 37-yard outing. But Heyward-Bey hasn’t even caught a pass the last two weeks).

Quarterback Chris Turner said he didn’t get to Heyward-Bey on many of his progressions, that the junior was a much later option. That’s fine, especially with Maryland’s offensive line bumbling along again tonight.

But there comes a point that if Heyward-Bey is your best offensive weapon – and at this point, who knows if that’s the case – you just find a way to make sure he is specifically targeted once on each possession, even if it is a screen pass or an end around.

But a total of six targets on 64 passes over the last two weeks? That just simply isn’t enough, especially with such a schizophrenic team in need of any sort of anchor it can find.

Patrick Stevens