- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2002

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Steve Suter returned his way into the NCAA record books. Chris Downs had four touchdowns. And the Maryland Terrapins scored 59 unanswered points to author the worst loss North Carolina has ever had on its home field.
It was just another ho-hum day as the Terps released their fury on one more helpless opponent. Maryland obliterated the Tar Heels 59-7 yesterday at Kenan Stadium, and has outscored foes 268-57 during a six-game winning streak. When the rankings are released tonight, the Terps could return to the national polls for the first time since the preseason and just in time for Saturday's showdown with No.10 N.C. State at Byrd Stadium.
"I don't know if we're just one-hit wonders now," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said, referring to last season's 10-1 record and Orange Bowl bid. "We'll have an opportunity to go to a bowl. It just depends on which bowl. The more we win, the better the bowl."
The Terps (7-2, 3-1 ACC) are back in the hunt for a second consecutive ACC title after failing to reach a bowl in the previous decade. Maryland won for the first time at North Carolina since 1988 by handing the Tar Heels (2-7, 0-5) their worst loss ever in Chapel Hill and worst overall defeat since 1923.
For Maryland to win a share of the league title, it probably needs to win out, starting next week against the Wolfpack (9-1, 4-1), who were upset by Georgia Tech 24-17 yesterday. That game time has been set for noon. The Terps also need Florida State (6-3, 5-0 ACC) to lose one of its final three conference games.
"Next week is going to be a defining moment of our season," said wide receiver Scooter Monroe, who had an 80-yard touchdown reception to tie the game in the first quarter. "If we win next week, we have our sights set pretty good."
The Terps took charge yesterday after their offense erupted for 17 points in less than six minutes to erase an early 7-0 deficit. Suter provided the decisive blow with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown to make it 24-7 later in the second quarter.
Suter tied an NCAA Division I-A record by becoming the eighth player to return four punts for touchdowns in a season. The sophomore also set an ACC record for punt return yardage in a season with 574.
Downs racked up 157 yards rushing, including a physical 36-yard scoring run that made it 31-7 just before halftime. The fifth-year senior became the fourth player in Maryland history to have four scoring runs in a game as the Terps amassed 588 yards; 388 on the ground. Monroe finished with 167 yards receiving, and quarterback Scott McBrien had a strong performance with 190 yards passing, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Maryland started slowly, but the 80-yard strike from McBrien to Monroe ignited a trail of firepower. The left-handed quarterback rolled left, both McBrien and Monroe read the same coverage, and the receiver broke off a shorter route and beat his man down the right sideline. Monroe caught the long pass at the Tar Heels' 40 with two defenders closing in and raced into the end zone.
"That was a stab in the heart," North Carolina linebacker Malcolm Stewart said.
After a three-and-out by the Tar Heels, Maryland got the ball back at North Carolina's 40. Nick Novak finished the drive with a 36-yard field goal to give the Terps a 10-7 lead.
Curome Cox intercepted North Carolina quarterback C.J. Stephens on the next possession and returned it 17 yards to the Tar Heels' 30. Downs finished that drive with a 9-yard run to make it 17-7 with 9:28 left in the half.
Carolina was forced to punt on its next possession and made the mistake of letting Suter get the short kick at Maryland's 23. The compact speedster caught the ball outside the left hash mark and used a block by Domonique Foxworth to find an opening.
"Then I decided to shuffle to the right a little bit and saw a lane in front of me," Suter said. "And [blocker] Madieu Williams was right up on and looked liked he was waving me on, and I just took off. It looked like he got a good crackback [block] on somebody, and there really was nobody left."
Three flags were thrown, but all were on North Carolina. The Tar Heels had a halo violation, a push in the back and a personal foul.
The Terps continued the destruction on the next drive, which finished with Downs' 36-yard touchdown as he took a pitch on the left side, burst through the line and lowered his shoulder to power past the final defender at the 5.
"Chris Downs made one of the highlight runs of the year," Friedgen said. "I think that kind of disheartened them."
Notes
The list of eight players that have returned four punts for a touchdown in a season includes Cliff Branch (Colorado, 1971) and Santana Moss (Miami, 2000). North Carolina's Sam Aiken had 10 catches for 102 yards. Friedgen is the first Maryland coach to win 17 games in his first two seasons, eclipsing Bobby Ross' record of 16 set ins 1982 and 1983.

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