The Washington Times - October 24, 2009, 01:10PM

DURHAM, N.C. – Maryland tailback Caleb Porzel enters this afternoon’s game at Duke seeking his first career touchdown.

He nearly had it a week ago on the slippery sod at Byrd Stadium.

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“Aw, man. Just one trip away.  …,” Porzel said earlier this week. “I had tunnel vision with the safety. I knew what I was going to do. But the grass and the wetness kind of said ‘Nope, not today.’”

Maybe that’ll be different today at Wallace Wade Stadium, where Porzel will probably have his largest role to date.

Da’Rel Scott is out. So is Gary Douglas. And Davin Meggett’s developed a fumbling habit this month.

So that leaves the electric Porzel, who nearly busted that long run last week.

“Just knowing that I could break out on a run like that in D-I college football as a freshman to me is a momentum booster going into the other games, even though we’re halfway into the season,” Porzel said. “Even though I’m short, I make up with it with my speed.

Enough so that he’s heard the Darren Sproles comparisons for a little while. And the speed is fully back after suffering a quadriceps bruise in camp that ultimately shelved him for the first five games.

In some ways, though, that ailment helped Porzel grow accustomed to college life and the Terps’ offense – something that could come in quite handy in the final half of the season.

“When I was injured, I really took the time to focus on my academics and also on studying the playbook,” Porzel said. “During camp, I was in the flow of things, and then I got injured and I kind of got set back. [I thought] ‘Since I’m injured and I’m away from practice, this is my time to get back where I need to be.’”

In less than a half hour, that may well be in the backfield to start against Duke.

Patrick Stevens