- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2002

Don't laugh, but last night's 37-8 route of Wofford actually may mean something to Maryland in December.
A heavy dose of tailbacks Chris Downs and Josh Allen, who combined for 210 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, helped the Terrapins dog the Division I-AA Terriers last night before 44,098 at Byrd Stadium. Downs rushed for a career-high 147 yards with a touchdown. Freshman Allen added 63 yards and two touchdowns.
Nick Novak booted field goals of 39, 43 and 50 yards, and quarterback Scott McBrien tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Steve Suter to complement Maryland's dominant ground attack. McBrien completed 11 of 19 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
"I thought we were fairly effective running the ball," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "Obviously, there was a tremendous difference in size."
More importantly the victory could help provide some holiday cheer for the Terps. It's too early to tell right now, but the Maryland now has a trump card in its back pocket if it needs to use it to become bowl eligible.
Under NCAA guidelines, Division I programs are allowed to use one victory over a I-AA team every four years in order to become bowl eligible. Maryland had no need of calling in any I-AA markers under former coach Ron Vanderlinden (1997-2000). Last season's 10-1 regular season record and Orange Bowl appearance spoke for themselves.
With a 13-game schedule, Maryland must win at least seven this season to become bowl eligible, which is where this blowout may become important. The Terps have already posted lopsided wins over two Mid-American Conference opponents Akron and Eastern Michigan giving the Terps two Division I-A wins.
Yet Maryland (3-2) may find it tough to reach seven wins. Five of the remaining eight games are on the road, including Saturday's contest at West Virginia.
Unfortunately for Maryland, the Terps couldn't use the outmanned Terriers as a rehab assignment for junior star tailback Bruce Perry. Perry, last season's ACC Offensive Player of the Year, missed his fifth game last night because of a groin tear. Perry probably would have enjoyed himself against the defenseless Terriers, but Downs and Allen had plenty of fun too.
"We've got some running backs, but I'd like to get Bruce back," Friedgen said.
The way Downs ran, Perry can take all the time he needs to get healthy. In the first half, Downs made everybody forget about Perry, a 1,242-yard rusher in 2001. The 5-foot-8, 193-pound senior from Philadelphia, gained 120 yards on 16 carries in the first half alone.
"All during the week in practice, coaches were telling us, 'Get the ball, make the cut, get downhill and ball security,'" Downs said. "In this game, that's what I was trying to do."
Downs, who came into this game as the Terps' leading rusher (174 yards on 39 carries), became Maryland's first 100-yard rusher of the season and the first since last Oct.20, when quarterback Shaun Hill gained 105 in Maryland's 59-17 destruction of Duke.
Maryland's offensive line deserves some credit for Downs' big rushing numbers. It simply blew the smaller Terriers (3-1) off the ball as the Terps rushed for 250 yards on 50 attempts.
Downs made a statement on the very first play when he went off left tackle for 12 yards. Two plays later, Downs scampered 44 yards off right tackle, and the tone was set. Despite having to settle for Novak's 39-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead, Maryland was going to physically punish the Terriers.
After Novak added a 43-yard first-period field goal, Downs scored Maryland's first touchdown on a 6-yard run off right tackle with 9:57 left before halftime. Downs' fifth touchdown of the season gave Maryland a 13-0 lead.
On their next possession, the Terps essentially put the game away. The Terps marched 85 yards on a 16-play drive that consumed 6:01, Downs rushing for 46 yards on six carries. As soon as the Terps got near the red zone, Friedgen gave Downs a rest and pounded the Terriers all the way to the end zone with the 5-11 Allen.
Allen gave the Terps a 20-0 halftime lead on a 1-yard plunge up the middle and added a 10-yard burst off the right side for his second touchdown of the game and his third of the season after intermission.

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