Maryland rebounds, handles No. 23 Cal

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No one is ever sure which version of the Maryland football team will show up, least of all the Terrapins themselves.

On Saturday, the good version of the Terps appeared just in time to prevent the programs season from falling apart just after it started.

DaRel Scott ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns and Chris Turner was 15-for-19 for 156 yards and two touchdowns as Maryland tripped up No. 23 California 35-27 before 49,527 at Byrd Stadium.

It was Marylands third victory over a ranked team in the last two seasons, and came just a week after arguably the most embarrassing loss the program suffered since coach Ralph Friedgen took over before the 2001 season.

Yet it might have come at a cost. Scott, who already has more than 400 yards rushing, left in the third quarter with a left shoulder injury. He did not return, though he rejoined his teammates on the sideline.

The Terps (2-1) were a week removed from the nadir of Friedgens eight-year tenure — a 24-14 loss at Middle Tennessee that prompted a week of self-examination in the program and grousing from its fans.

Rather than produce a repeat performance — one that surely would have led to a blowout — Maryland was vastly different team in the first quarter.

Turner, who struggled a week earlier, was crisp from the start. He was 11-for-14 for 106 yards and a touchdown in the first half, and generally handled the pressure from the California defense without much worry.

It helped that he could hand it off to Scott, who bounded 24 yards for the Terps first score and added a 1-yard plunge later in the first quarter. By the time Turner connected with tight end Dan Gronkowski for a 1-yard scoring strike, the Terps led 21-3.

The Golden Bears looked nothing like the team that eviscerated Washington State a week earlier. Tailback Jahvid Best, fresh off a 200-yard performance, lost a yard on five carries in the first half before a hit from cornerback Kevin Barnes temporarily sent him to the sideline.

Best finished the day with 25 yards on 10 carries.

His teammates werent much better, and perhaps they were hampered by the early start time. California coach Jeff Tedford decided to travel east on Friday despite the 9 a.m. Pacific kickoff, and his team looked groggy throughout the first half.

The Bears (2-1) didnt wake up in the third quarter, either, even after they forced a fumble in Maryland territory. California promptly handed it back to the Terps, and Turner then led a nine-play drive capped with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Cal finally closed within within two possessions with 6:55 left, but Davin Meggett (13 carries, 82 yards) scored from a yard out less than a minute later to push the lead back to 35-13

While Turner thrived, Cal quarterback Kevin Riley struggled throughout the day. He absorbed five sacks against a Maryland defense that had applied minimal pressure and not managed a sack in its first two games.

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