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Green, Maryland roll to 3-1

- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 20, 2008

In Morgan Greens mind, it probably should have been this way all along.

Then again, three years of injuries and unpleasant comparisons might have made him savor Saturdays 51-24 victory over Eastern Michigan all the more.

The sophomore tailback ran for 40 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career as the Terrapins (3-1) won their second straight entering next weeks conference opener against Clemson.

Chris Turner was 15-for-23 for 212 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for Maryland, while wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey rolled up 115 total yards and a touchdown before 48,023 at Byrd Stadium.

Quarterback Josh Portis ran for 98 yards and touchdown for the Terps, who had their most prolific day on offense since a 55-21 victory at Duke on Sept. 25, 2004.

The day, though, was especially special for Green, who has come from much farther away than nearby White Plains to take a star turn for the Terps.

Green was once a cant-miss recruit, a perfect fit for his home-state program --- so much so that Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen famously took Green over Steve Slaton when faced with a scholarship crunch.

Slaton went on to play three years at West Virginia, torching the Terps each season. Green wound up on an odyssey that took him to Hargrave Military Academy before finally arriving in College Park for a redshirt season.

At the start of this season, the contrast in resumes was especially glaring. Slaton was a third-round pick of the Houston Texans. Green, often injured in his two seasons with the Terps, owned three career carries.

All that history meant nothing against the Eagles (1-3). With starting tailback DaRel Scott (sprained shoulder) dressed but held out, Green finally earned for a share of the backfields workload.

Green opened up a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter when he dove in from a yard out for his first career touchdown. On his next series, he capped another scoring drive with a 20-yard touchdown scamper to the right side.

He was far from the only Terp to enjoy the rout of the Eagles. Kicker Obi Egekeze, who entered the day 0-for-5 on field goal attempts this season, connected on attempts from 23, 21 and 33 yards to break out of his slump.

Still, Eastern Michigan exposed some weaknesses in the Terps, especially in the secondary. Starting safety Terrell Skinner (ankle) and reserve cornerbacks Nolan Carroll (foot) and Richard Taylor (knee) were out with injuries, and Eagles quarterback Kyle McMahon scorched the Terps for 278 yards while completing 25 of 37 passes.

Eastern Michigan fell to 0-31 since 1988 against BCS conference teams.

The Terps held a 24-14 lead at halftime, and immediately padded it when Turner capped a quick drive to start the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dan Gronkowski.

The teams traded field goals, and the Terps seemed ready to put it away before Turner was picked off by Daniel Holtzclaw. But the Eagles turned it over on downs, and Egekeze drilled his third field goal with 11:46 remaining to make it 37-17.

The Terps later scored when wide receiver Danny Oquendo delivered a 43-yard touchdown pass to an open Isaiah Williams to bump the lead back to 44-24.