The Washington Times - November 28, 2008, 10:32AM

It’s time to talk about a momentous day in Maryland football history.

October 14, 2006.


That was the day the Terrapins erased a 20-0 halftime deficit at Virginia.

The cap to Maryland’s 28-0 run that day was Erin Henderson’s 45-yard interception return.

Sure, that rally turned the Terps’ season around. But it also included the last defensive or special teams touchdown Maryland has scored.

Put another way, the Terps’ offense has accounted for every touchdown in the last 31 games. Granted, some scores were set up by defense and special teams work. But those units have not visited the rectangular nirvana in more than two years.

Now let’s look at Boston College, which has played 32 games since Oct. 14, 2006, with the extra game coming in last year’s ACC title game.

In that span, the Eagles have a whopping 16 defensive or special teams TDs. For the sake of thoroughness, here’s a little chart to sort it all out:

Date Opponent Player Return Yds Score
10-21-06 @Florida State
DeJuan Tribble
INT 36 W, 24-19
11-18-06 Maryland Jolonn Dunbar
FUMBLE 14 W, 38-16

Maryland Jolonn Dunbar

Maryland DeJuan Tribble
INT 42
@Miami DeJuan Tribble
INT 22 L, 17-14
9-8-07 N.C. State
Jolonn Dunbar
INT 14 W, 37-17
10-6-07 Bowling Green
Jamie Silva
INT 65 W, 55-24

Bowling Green
Nick Larkin
12-1-07 vs. Virginia Tech
Jamie Silva
FUMBLE 51 L, 30-16
9-27-08 Rhode Island
Mark Herzlich
INT 60 W, 42-0
10-18-08 Virginia Tech
Rich Gunnell
PUNT 65 W, 28-23 
10-25-08 at North Carolina 
Kevin Akins
FUMBLE 13 L, 45-24
11-1-08 Clemson Roderick Rollins
25 L, 27-21
11-8-08 Notre Dame
Paul Anderson
INT 76 W, 17-0
11-15-08 at Florida State
Marcellus Bowman
INT 87 W, 27-17
11-22-08 at Wake Forest
Mark Herzlich
INT 34 W, 24-21

So much of this rests on good fortune, whether it’s having a clear path to the end zone on an interception or a friendly bounce on a fumble or simply deploying a dangerous punt returner.

But at some point, the cause of a disparity of non-offensive touchdowns between two teams moves from luck to something else. I’m not exactly sure what that “something else” is (though “overall talent” and “coaching” are the clubhouse favorites). But that shift of explanation – whatever its cause – probably happens well before that gap grows to 16-0 between teams in the same conference.

Patrick Stevens