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Maryland finds offense in rout
Question of the Day
Tailback Morgan Green was well into his third season in Maryland’s program and had yet to score a touchdown. Kicker Obi Egekeze was 0-for-the-season in his field goal attempts.
Both can rest a little bit easier after helping the Terrapins roll to a 51-24 victory over Eastern Michigan at Byrd Stadium on Saturday.
Green ran for two touchdowns, and Egekeze drilled three field goals as Maryland (3-1) enjoyed its largest scoring output in nearly four years.
Chris Turner completed 15 of 23 passes for 212 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey had 112 total yards and a score and reserve quarterback Josh Portis added 98 yards rushing and a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Eagles (1-3).
It was Maryland’s first 50-point performance since a 55-21 victory at Duke on Sept. 25, 2004. And with the prelude to conference play complete - and a predictable but nevertheless unconventional 3-1 mark to show for it - the outburst was well timed with a date at No. 23 Clemson looming.
“[Offensive coordinator James] Franklin always tells us we’re a 50-point team,” Green said. “We showed them we could do that today. Hopefully we can take these points and transfer them to the ACC teams.”
Maryland rolled up 486 total yards even without tailback Da’Rel Scott (sprained shoulder), who was cleared to play but was to be held unless he was needed. The offensive outburst coupled with Scott’s absence created an opportunity for Green, whose career unfolded much differently than he originally envisioned.
Coach Ralph Friedgen famously took Green, a native of White Plains, Md., over former West Virginia star Steve Slaton when he faced a scholarship crunch nearly four years ago. Slaton became the Terps’ bete noire for the last three years. Green, meanwhile, attended prep school for a year, redshirted another and played sparingly in part because of injuries in 2007.
The imbalance between their resumes entering the season was stunning; Slaton was a third-round pick of the Houston Texans, and Green owned three career carries. Then a quadriceps injury derailed Green for much of camp.
For a day, none of it mattered. Green rumbled into the end zone from a yard out on a fourth down to extend Maryland’s edge to 10-0 (it never got closer), then scampered 20 yards down the right side for another touchdown later in the first half.
“It’s a relief. I’ve just been waiting for this moment,” said Green, who ran for 40 yards. “Two touchdowns in a game is good for me. I thought I could have had one more, but I’ll just take what they give me and improve for the next game.”
Egekeze didn’t need to wait for a breakthrough quite so long, but the first three weeks of his season were still rough. After connecting on 17 of 23 field goals last year, Egekeze missed his first five attempts and found himself battling to retain his job.
Yet he also received countless calls of encouragement from friends, other kickers and even his high school coach. Their efforts buoyed him, and his 23-yarder in the first quarter both snapped his slump and elicited one of the loudest roars of the day from the crowd.
“It was a relief,” said Egekeze, who later connected from 21 and 33 yards. “I took maybe two seconds to soak it in, and then I was back to being focused. You have to look to the next kick. After two seconds, I was already over it.”
The same might be true for the entire team after handling Eastern Michigan, a program that is 0-31 against BCS conference opponents since 1988.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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