- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

Scott McBrien proved you can go home again during Maryland's trip to West Virginia last week. The Terrapins quarterback, who began his career with the Mountaineers, had his most impressive game at Maryland and left his old teammates in despair after the 48-17 laugher.

McBrien did a good job blocking out distractions the week leading up to the game, but he said things got a little eerie on the bus ride to Morgantown.

"It was strange," McBrien said in his first public comments in nearly two weeks. "When we first pulled up, I told Hunter Cross, the other quarterback here [who also transferred from West Virginia], it was weird. That's for sure. It was strange being back there and going into the other locker room and being on the other sideline. It was a learning experience for me. Fortunately, it turned out to be a good experience."

Happy homecoming aside, the quarterback showed for the first time that he could lead the Terps to victory in a big game, even in a hostile stadium. The fourth-year junior will bring higher confidence into Thursday night's game, when Maryland (4-2, 0-1 ACC) plays Georgia Tech (4-2, 1-2) at Byrd Stadium.

McBrien completed four of five passes in the first quarter, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jafar Williams that made it 21-0. He kept Maryland's first drive alive with a third-down completion to Rich Parson before scoring on his own 21-yard run.

"He is starting to get to his second and third receivers," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who believes McBrien is seeing the field better than earlier this season. "I think he is more aware of things on the field. It is still not 100 percent, but it is an improvement from where we started."

The quarterback heard the boos, catcalls and colorful language during pregame warmups but was able to shut them out once the game began. McBrien quickly did his part to quiet the stands on the Terps' first drive. He scored after a fake handoff that left West Virginia dumbfounded. Maryland soon jumped out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead before pulling ahead 35-0 in the second quarter.

"It really relaxed our offense and allowed us to go out and make plays," McBrien said. "That's funny because they run that play all the time, so I was thinking it wasn't going to work. They bit on that run, and I was wide open. I really couldn't believe it at first. I scored, and it was a great feeling. It was a great feeling to go back there and score myself and come out with a victory."

Allen runs up chart

Freshman Josh Allen was slated to redshirt this season before circumstances and his own development moved him up the depth chart. Allen, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School, moved to third string the third week of the season and rushed for 86 yards in a mop-up role against Eastern Michigan.

Last week he was scheduled to share time with fifth-year senior Chris Downs. But when coaches realized he was the "hot back," he played almost the entire first half. Allen proved worthy with a 70-yard run that gave Maryland a 14-0 lead and finished with 116 yards rushing (7.2-yard average) and two touchdowns, using his power to continue drives.

"He's about a 205-, 210-pound running back who has very good speed and excellent acceleration," Friedgen said. "He runs very, very hard and has good vision. He's also very good out of the backfield. He's brought a dimension where he can get the tough yards but also has the ability to take it all the way. He couldn't have come at a better time for us."

Allen's rise has come with star tailback Bruce Perry out recovering from a torn left groin muscle. Perry could return next week. Allen moved past Mario Merrills and Jason Crawford, who is now learning to play fullback after starter Chad Killian suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Extra points

Safety Dennard Wilson (hip pointer) is expected to play against the Yellow Jackets. The Terps had four days off before returning to practice Thursday. They also will take tomorrow off

Georgia Tech is coming off a 24-21 loss to Wake Forest in which Yellow Jackets quarterback A.J. Suggs was booed in his home stadium after a fourth-quarter fumble and a penalty for throwing the ball over the line of scrimmage, which cost Georgia Tech a possible game-tying field goal.

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