- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 24, 2002

CHARLOTTESVILLE It was a day of infamy for the Maryland Terrapins.
Presented with a chance to gain a share of the ACC championship when Florida State was upset yesterday, the No.18 Terps instead self-destructed with a combination of turnovers, penalties, shoddy defense.
Virginia trounced Maryland 48-13 at Scott Stadium, ending the Terps' championship hopes and eight-game winning streak. Now instead of having a chance to return to a BCS game, Maryland must try to put the pieces back together after a humiliating blowout.
"I'm crushed right now," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, at a loss to explain how his team could perform so badly. "How many times do you have the opportunity that we had? Winning a conference championship and going to maybe a BCS bowl that doesn't happen every day. That door was open for us. We couldn't take it. It bothers me. It bothers me a lot."
Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub spent the evening picking apart the Terps with short passes, particularly a swing pass into the flat that routinely kept drives alive. The efficient junior completed 23 of 27 for 249 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Maryland led 7-0 in the first quarter, before the Cavaliers blocked a field goal to spark a run of 34 unanswered points.
The loss leaves Maryland in jeopardy of not going to a New Year's bowl and ended the Terps' longest winning streak in a quarter-century. Maryland (9-3, 5-2 ACC) fell to third place behind Florida State, which won the league title outright despite its 17-7 loss to N.C. State, and Virginia (8-4, 6-2).
The best the Terps can hope for with a victory over Wake Forest next week is a tie with Virginia for second place. The Jan.1 Gator Bowl has the second choice among ACC teams and would chose between the two, with the other probably headed to the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.
"Virginia came to play and we didn't," Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson said. "This is something we are going to look back on the rest of our lives. We had a chance to get a championship and we didn't"
Virginia, which has won eight of its last 10, can boost its Gator Bowl hopes with a victory Saturday at No.13 Virginia Tech.
Yesterday's destruction started with Maryland ahead 7-0 and kicker Nick Novak attempting a 28-yard field goal late in the first quarter. Novak hit it low, and Virginia's Chris Canty blocked it at the line. After the game, Friedgen second-guessed his choice to kick rather than go on a fourth-and-1 at the 12.
"The momentum changed there and for the rest of the game," Friedgen said. He was right: Virginia scored on its next four possessions and six of its next seven.
The Cavaliers drove downfield after the block and scored on a 47-yard field goal by Connor Hughes, the first of the season by the freshman. Maryland's Scott McBrien was intercepted by Jermaine Hardy on the next series, and Virginia took over at the Terps' 27.
On the first play, Schaub found fullback Jason Snelling on a sideline pass in the middle of Maryland's zone defense, and the fullback sliced into the end zone. Hughes kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 13-3 on Virginia's next possession.
On the next series, Maryland tailback Chris Downs fumbled when hit by Angelo Crowell, and Canty recovered at the Maryland 31. The Cavaliers took advantage of a personal foul on defensive tackle Randy Starks and scored on a 7-yard swing pass to Wali Lundy, who avoided three Terps to get into the end zone and give Virginia a 20-7 halftime lead.
It was that kind of day for Maryland, which also had wide receiver Scooter Monroe drop a likely long touchdown pass in the open, endured costly penalties and saw its defense get caught in blown coverages.
"I don't know if we were emotionally spent," Henderson said. "All I know is, we missed opportunities."
The backbreaker came right after halftime, when Friedgen told the team that N.C. State had upset Florida State, and a win would put it in position to claim a share of the ACC title.
However, Virginia scored on a double reverse and pass on its first possession as wide receiver Billy McMullen took the second handoff, dodged Maryland's Durrand Roundtree and threw a 37- yard pass to Michael McGrew.
On the Cavaliers' next series, Lundy took a screen pass 24 yards across the goal line on a third-and-21, and the Cavaliers led 34-7 lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
The Terps had scored first on an 11-yard pass from Scott McBrien to Downs, before everything fell apart for Maryland.
"It's hard to explain," Friedgen said. "I thought [my players were] just emotionally drained. They tried to get up, and they could do it in spurts. But we couldn't sustain."


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