- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2000

Maryland went up to the mountains of West Virginia hoping to find a breath of fresh air for its sputtering offense. But instead of being reinvigorated, the Terps saw their problems increase because of a suddenly vulnerable defense.
"I am very disappointed we let them run the ball as well as they did," said Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden, whose defense allowed 276 yards rushing and 441 overall in Saturday's game. "I would never have guessed they would be able to run the ball on us as consistently as they did."
The Terps (1-1) were soundly beaten on both lines of scrimmage. Preseason All-American tailback LaMont Jordan had his worst game in two years, managing just 38 yards as the offensive scored only 10 points in the 30-17 loss to the Mountaineers. The offense was particularly pitiful on third downs, converting only two of 14 (14 percent).
While Maryland was well aware of its offensive troubles coming in, it hoped its defense would keep it in games, as it did in the opening victory over Temple. But on Saturday, the defense was embarrassed in the trenches, allowing West Virginia backup tailback Cooper Rego 114 yards rushing after starter Avon Cobourne (97 yards) missed the second half with a sprained ankle.
"We have to work on a lot of mental keys," said defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, whose unit did not have a sack after recording six the week before. "I don't think it was matter of us going out there and getting beat up. I think we made mistakes that we can correct mentally."
With lowly Middle Tennessee State coming to Byrd Stadium on Saturday, this is the perfect week for Maryland to work out its difficulties before defending national champion and second-ranked Florida State arrives Sept. 28.
The Terps will get a boost with co-starting quarterback Shaun Hill returning after missing last week with a sprained shoulder. However, Calvin McCall did a nice job running the new, short passing attack, even if it resulted in few points.
"Our plan was to come out and throw first," said Vanderlinden, who knew West Virginia's defense would play the run first.
Although the offensive line was repeatedly beaten on running plays, it did a steady job of pass protection. McCall completed 19 of 29 for 215 and hit on 10 straight in the first half. Wide receiver Guilian Gary had an excellent game with seven catches for 96 yards, and freshman tight end Jeff Dugan had a second strong outing with four catches.
"It was just like routine," said McCall, who had a good week of practice after a poor outing against Temple. "I felt real good. The receivers ran good routes. The line gave me time to throw the ball. Everything was just clicking as far as throwing the ball."
The Terps also can feel good about their special teams. Linebacker Leon Joe picked up a botched Mountaineers punt attempt and ran it back 55 yards for a touchdown. Moises Cruz recovered a fumble of a punt return in the fourth quarter to give the Terps the ball at West Virginia's 8. The play led to Maryland nearly taking the lead on McCall's fourth-down sneak, when the quarterback seemed to go over the goal line, but didn't get the call.
Mukala Sikyala had several impressive kickoff returns, including a 51-yarder that set up Maryland's field goal in the first half.
Note Yugoslav kicker Vedad Siljkovic saw his first action Saturday and will be the Terps' punter in short situations to try to pin opponents deep in their territory. Siljkovic is a junior transfer… . Cornerback Tony Okanlawon left Saturday's game with a pulled hamstring and did not return. McCall sprained his left ankle in the second half but played the entire game.

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