- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

A 45-yard touchdown bomb to Jafar Williams. A 72-yard scoring run from Josh Allen. Chris Downs bursting for a 70-yard touchdown run. The big play arrived for the first time this season for Maryland against a quality opponent in its 48-17 demolition of West Virginia on Oct.5.
Whether it was a drive-saving third-down catch by Rich Parson or Steve Suter or a power run by Allen, quarterback Scott McBrien and the Terrapins showed off their firepower while jumping to a 35-0 lead and leaving the Mountaineers smelling fumes on their own field in Morgantown.
"We finally got to a point where everybody was doing the same thing right at the same time," said guard Lamar Bryant, whose offense broke down continually in lopsided losses to seventh-ranked Notre Dame and No.12 Florida State. "That's what our offense is built to do. If one person is off, then nothing works. That's why we have to be precise every play."
The Terrapins did not play this past weekend but hope to ride the last game's momentum into Thursday night's match against Georgia Tech (4-2, 1-2 ACC) at Byrd Stadium. The Terps (4-2, 0-1) made the springing blocks against West Virginia, McBrien made the reads as well as accurate throws, and receivers were in sync with the quarterback. The pass catchers did not have any drops for the first time this season.
The first-quarter play that sparked the offense was a third-down completion across the middle to Parson for 21 yards, which allowed McBrien to rush 21 yards for a touchdown on the next play. That score settled the Terps' nerves and tamed the hostile crowd. On the first play of a series later in the quarter, McBrien unleashed a deep ball to Williams. The maligned receiver, who has had several costly drops in big games, beat his man down the right sideline with an athletic catch for a 45-yard touchdown that gave Maryland a 14-0 lead.
"People tried to get down on Jafar because he struggled," said receiver Latrez Harrison, who had a career-long 28-yard catch in the game. "Jafar is a [darn] good receiver. I always tell him, 'just keep focused.' He made the big play. I hope that play right there carries him into this game and gives him his confidence back."
Williams, who was held to one catch for 5 yards against Florida State, was considered the Terps' top weapon coming into this season with tailback Bruce Perry out with a torn groin muscle and a new starting quarterback. The offense might get another weapon Thursday as Perry could play for the first time this season in a limited role, according to coach Ralph Friedgen.
Maryland had sputtered without him until last week but finally displayed the type of exactness Friedgen had waited for, but rarely seen.
"The littlest thing can stop you on offense," said Friedgen, of the constant misreads, bungled blocks, errant passes and dropped balls prior to West Virginia. "I see us getting better. The West Virginia game gave us some confidence. I see Scott getting better. It's another test this week. You take it from the classroom to the practice field, and from the practice field to the game field."
The Terps had shown they could rack up points and big plays while rolling over inferior Akron, Eastern Michigan and Wofford. But it wasn't until its trip to a rowdy Morgantown that Maryland showed signs of having another big season and challenging in the ACC's first division. The game against the Yellow Jackets before a national television audience will show if the Terps can sustain the offensive fireworks heading into the heart of the ACC schedule.
"The West Virginia game showed us that once we become a whole team, we're pretty good," Harrison said. "In the back of my mind and my teammates minds', we knew we hadn't beat a big-time opponent yet. West Virginia was a big confidence boost for us. There is always a game in the season where if you win, you just take off from there and don't look back. I think West Virginia was that game."
Notes
Offensive tackle Matt Crawford became ill Friday night and was taken to the hospital. The 6-foot-6, 313-pound senior missed two practices and is unlikely to start, but may play Thursday. In his absence, Kyle Schmitt has moved into the lineup at center, switching Todd Wike from center to guard and C.J. Brooks moves from guard to tackle. Friedgen said Perry ran on Sunday and practiced yesterday. The coach said the ACC Offensive Player of the Year is about "90 percent" but is unsure if he will play. "He can go pretty good for a couple plays, but he slows down a little after that," Friedgen said.
Receiver Scooter Monroe suffered a hyper-extended elbow in practice but should play. Safety Dennard Wilson (hip pointer against West Virginia) is also expected to play. Receiver Derrick Fenner is back after missing two games with an ankle injury and will play. Maryland's game at Duke on Oct.26 will be at 1p.m. and won't be televised.


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