- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 30, 2001


During a meeting with his players Friday night, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen asked how many of them had been on a college team with a 4-0 record.
No one raised his hand.
That changed emphatically yesterday when the Terrapins bounced West Virginia 32-20 before 40,166 at Byrd Stadium. Maryland stayed undefeated by forcing six turnovers and committing none. Tailback Bruce Perry, who came into the day as the nation's leading rusher, had another powerful performance with 153 more. The team ended the afternoon by running around like gleeful children, raising their hands and yelling to an adoring audience.
"I remember when they were booing us," said receiver Guilian Gary, who had a 29-yard TD catch to give the Terps a 25-13 lead late in the third quarter. "They were booing us in the stands. I was like, 'Man, these are our fans, and they are booing us.' We haven't heard a boo yet this season. All we hear is 'Bruuuce … ' Things have come a long way here."
The Terps weren't pretty, with their passing attack stalling and an array of special teams mistakes including allowing a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and missing two extra points but they are still perfect record-wise. Maryland is 4-0 for the first time since 1995 and only the second time in 23 seasons.
The sounds of "Bruuuce" cascading from the stands were for Perry, who has amassed 678 yards rushing in the four games for a 169.5 average. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder carried the ball 31 times against the Mountaineers (2-2).
"He was delivering some bombs out there," said Friedgen, whose tailback scored on a 6-yard run in the second quarter to give Maryland a 13-3 lead. "He stuck people. He was exploding on them… . When you get 150 yards and they're bound and determined on stopping you, that's quite a statement."
As impressive as Perry was, the defense was the reason the Terps remained unbeaten. The unit had four interceptions and recovered two fumbles, bringing one back for a touchdown. Rod Littles, Tony Jackson, Randall Jones and Tony Okanlawon picked off Mountaineers quarterback Brad Lewis.
Lewis completed 31 of 52 for 279 yards but looked particularly uncomfortable rolling to his left. He routinely overthrew receivers and left the football hanging in the air.
"We knew we could rattle him," said linebacker E.J. Henderson, who led the Terps with 16 tackles. "We knew he was a hothead and if we pressured him, he would just wing it."
Lewis also fumbled when he was stuck in the back by linebacker Leon Joe. Maryland's Mike Whaley picked it up and ran 52 yards for the go-ahead score at 19-13. Whaley finished the run out of breath with teammates guiding him into the end zone with 2:15 left in the second quarter.
Maryland built the lead to 25-13 on the touchdown reception by Gary (six catches, 81 yards) late in the third quarter. The senior wideout stepped in front of cornerback Lance Frazier at the 20, wrestled the ball away from him and raced to the end zone.
After a two-point conversion failed, the Mountaineers immediately answered when Shawn Terry took the kickoff, cut right and ran 100 yards for a touchdown, reducing the Terps' lead to 25-20. But the Terps responded with a nine-play, 81-yard drive, including runs of 18 and 16 yards by Perry and a 19-yard screen to the tailback to get to West Virginia's 2. Quarterback Shaun Hill sneaked in from there as Maryland went on top 32-20.
West Virginia made things interesting with a drive that ended at the Maryland 8 with 4:02 left. On fourth-and-5 from the 12, Avon Cobourne (128 yards rushing) caught a pass on the right side with a clear path to the end zone but tripped untouched a yard shy of the first down.
"We played very hard," said Friedgen, who regularly saw drives stalled by penalties; the Terps had seven for 80 yards. "We didn't play smart. There were too many penalties."
Maryland's passing game was relatively ineffective. Hill connected on 13 of 32 for 192 yards. The Terps also yielded three sacks.
Maryland took the lead in the first quarter when Marc Riley ran for a 3-yard TD set up by a 27-yard run by Perry. West Virginia cut the margin to 7-3 early in the second quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Brendan Rauh. The 56-yard drive was aided by two 15-yard penalties on Maryland. The Terps answered on Perry's 6-yard run through a huge hole created by guard Lamar Bryant and tackle Matt Crawford. The key play on the 80-yard drive was a 32-yard pass laid out by Hill and caught by a fully stretched and airborne Scooter Monroe down the left sideline.
The Mountaineers cut the lead to 13-6 on Rauh's 34-yard field goal midway though the second quarter and tied the game after an 8-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Phil Braxton shortly before the half. In the series, Lewis converted a fourth-and-2 at the Maryland 42 by running out of the pocket for a 21-yard gain.
Notes Perry became the second Terp to run for 100 yards in each of his first four starts, joining Steve Atkins, who had seven straight games in 1978… . Friedgen is the first Maryland coach to open with four straight wins since Curley Byrd in 1912… . West Virginia's Antonio Brown had 10 catches for 108 yards… . Maryland has drawn three straight crowds of more than 40,000 for the first time since 1995

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