- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2001


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Bruce Perry aggravated his hamstring late in yesterday's game with Wake Forest. The compact speedster played on despite the nagging injury and passed the aggravation on to the Demon Deacons on his record-setting day.

Perry's long runs left the Deacons chasing him all afternoon in Maryland's otherwise sloppy 27-20 victory at Groves Stadium. The slippery sophomore ran for 276 yards the most anyone has rushed for against Wake and the second most in Terps history. His performance included an 80-yard touchdown run on the game's first play and a 50-yard scoring scamper to give Maryland its final score. Perry followed a punishing offensive line to lead Maryland to a 3-0 record, including 2-0 in the ACC.

"I knew it was big yardage, but I didn't know it was that much," said Perry, who had 30 carries. "It's a credit to our offensive line… . It was a great experience."

Perry broke the mark of Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, who ran for 237 against Wake for South Carolina in 1978.

Even with Perry's big numbers, the Terps didn't have the victory assured until safety Tony Jackson intercepted Wake's James MacPherson in the end zone with 39 seconds left. It ended a wild game in which the Terps overcame two costly interceptions by quarterback Shaun Hill and nine penalties for 99 yards. Maryland's vaunted defense also gave way to Wake's tricky, no-huddle offense.

The Terps are alone on top of the ACC; Florida State was hammered by North Carolina 41-9 across the state yesterday. Maryland also ended the solid start of the Deacons (2-1, 0-1) and is halfway to becoming bowl eligible.

Perry has rushed for 525 yards in three games since earning the starting tailback job in the preseason. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound dynamo has used a combination of power and speed to burst onto the scene. Perry's day was second in Maryland history only to the 306 yards LaMont Jordan gained against Virginia in 1999.

"Amazing," said Maryland receiver Guilian Gary, who led the team with five catches for 77 yards. "For Bruce to come out of someone's shadow like LaMont's and completely dominate the shadow is incredible. He is making his own steps right. Somebody is going to follow after him one day."

Perry started by taking the team's first play 80 yards for a touchdown. After he blasted through the left side, he appeared to be wrapped up for a modest 10-yard gain before bouncing off several defenders and racing down the left side. The tailback dragged Deacons defensive end Calvin Pace several yards at the Maryland 40 before breaking free.

"I tried to get off [Pace] and get by the safety," Perry said. "It was nothing but green after that."

In the fourth quarter, Perry scored what proved to be the decisive points when he went through a gaping hole in the middle and went untouched for a 50-yard touchdown that put the Terps ahead 27-13 with 8:38 remaining.

Wake cut the lead to 27-20 on its next possession with a 42-yard touchdown pass from MacPherson (214 yards passing) to Jason Anderson with 6:54 remaining. The Deacons' second-to-last drive ended at Maryland's 38-yard line, and Jackson's diving interception ended Wake's last hope.

"I felt like our guys hung in there," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We seemed to make a lot of mistakes, especially in the red zone. We had a holding penalty that took a touchdown away. We missed a field goal, and then we threw an interception [in the end zone]. When you do those things, you usually don't come out on top. [Winning] is a sign we are a pretty good football team."

Maryland outgained Wake 519 to 379 and fought a resilient Deacons team that refused to fade in the second half. The Terps built the lead to 17-3 early in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Marc Riley, which was preceded by a 39-yard jaunt by Perry. However, Wake cut the lead to seven late in the period on an 11-yard run, complete with a dive into the end zone by Tarence Williams (100 yards rushing).

The Terps widened their lead to 20-10 on a 29-yard field goal by Nick Novak early in the fourth. The score came after the teams exchanged turnovers. Hill threw an interception at midfield, but Wake gave it back when Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson wrested the ball from Anthony Young to cause a fumble, and Jackson caught it in midair.

Wake again got within one score on a 37-yard field goal by Tyler Ashe to cut Maryland's lead to 20-13 with 10:25 left.

Maryland blew golden opportunities to widen the lead earlier. Hill threw an interception into the end zone from Wake's 8-yard line just before halftime, and Novak missed a 43-yard field goal try off the left post. Novak had missed his first five attempts of the season but nailed a 27-yarder in the second period yesterday before adding the 29-yard shot in the third.

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