- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Maryland safety Tony Jackson saw a black sky Monday afternoon just before a tornado touched down on the College Park campus. The Terrapins were preparing for an evening practice when a twister headed toward them.
The tornado left a trail of destruction with cars flung in the air, trees uprooted and buildings damaged. Two students died when the violent force crossed the campus. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was in his football office at Byrd Stadium meeting with defensive coordinator Gary Blackney just before the tornado struck.
"We were talking and he said, 'Oh my Lord,' " Friedgen said. "I looked out and I saw the funnel cloud coming over the stadium. And my team was very surprised at how fast an old, fat guy can run. I ran down the stairs into the locker room."
The team huddled in the coaches' locker room in the interior of the first floor of the team house, located behind one end zone of Byrd Stadium. On the playing field, the storm left only twisted goal posts and debris blown in from outside the stadium. Yesterday, twigs, leaves and some damaged bleachers were the only signs in Byrd Stadium that a tornado struck a day earlier.
"I was picturing how this building was going to look if it went down with all of us like cheek-to-cheek in the coaches' locker room," Friedgen said. "It was scary."
The Terps' practice bubble, which had been used during inclement weather, was destroyed in the storm. The building was located across University Boulevard from the main campus, and a half-mile from Byrd Stadium.
"Our indoor [practice] facility is now an outdoor facility," Friedgen said.
The campus was cleaning up yesterday after the tornado left wires dangling and street signs littering the area. Buildings were evacuated, roads were closed and classes were canceled.
"I imagine it must have jumped over Byrd Stadium," said quarterback Shaun Hill, who saw violent winds in the stadium before he retreated to the locker room. "It looked like there was one in here, but the damage wasn't that bad."
Though he's from Kansas, Hill had never seen a tornado up close before. The senior's hometown was, however, hit by a twister shortly after he arrived as a transfer student at Maryland in the spring of 2000.
Maryland canceled practice Monday its first day of preparation for Saturday's home game with West Virginia. The Terps (3-0) face the Mountaineers (2-1) in a match originally slated for Sept. 15 but was rescheduled following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"There must be something about West Virginia week," tight end Jeff Dugan said.
The Terps went back to work yesterday afternoon having to deal with another disaster, only this one struck only a few hundred yards from their home field.
"When something like this happens or what happened at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it makes you realize football is just a game," said Dugan, a sophomore. "It is just a game that's supposed to be fun. It makes you want to enjoy it even more."
Notes Terps tailback Bruce Perry was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week after rushing for 276 yards against Wake Forest. The sophomore leads the nation in rushing with an average of 175 yards. Safety Tony Jackson was the conference's Defensive Back of the Week after a fumble recovery and an interception… .
There will be increased security on Saturday, with some 250 security personnel on hand. All bags will be searched, and backpacks and large handbags will be banned… . The Virginia-Maryland game on Oct. 6 at Byrd Stadium will be at noon… .
Reserve quarterback Chris Kelley is "full go," according to Friedgen. Kelley, a redshirt freshman who required surgery on his knee following an accident at the beach in August, has been cleared by doctors, according to the coach… . A crowd of close to 45,000 is expected for the West Virginia game.

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