- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 14, 2003

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen wanted his team to relax. The Terrapins responded with a laugher.

Running back Josh Allen scampered for a 72-yard touchdown on the opening play, and Maryland scored on its first nine possessions to rout The Citadel 61-0 last night before 51,594 at Byrd Stadium. It was the Terps’ most lopsided victory since a 74-13 demolition of Missouri in 1954.

Maryland’s beleaguered offense dominated The Citadel for 565 yards overall and 282 yards rushing. The Terps (1-2) ended a 111-minute touchdown drought by reaching the end zone on their first three drives, plus a punt return, in the first quarter. Allen gained more than 100 yards in the opening five minutes.

“We should feel a lot better than last week,” Friedgen said. “I was pleased we kept our intensity, our focus. I thought we got a lot better.”

Friedgen spent the week trying to rebuild the Terps’ confidence after a 20-13 overtime upset loss at Northern Illinois and a 35-10 pounding at Florida State. There was motivational music at practice and persistent pep talks as Maryland sought to revive a season that began with hopes of a major bowl game and ACC championship. Friedgen believed his players were simply trying too hard.

While beating The Citadel (1-2) brought little redemption given the Division I-AA opponent, the victory at least provides some zip to Maryland’s program while the Terps prepare for a visit by West Virginia on Saturday. Finally, Maryland was showing why it began the season ranked No.15.

“If we finish 10-2, nobody will remember the first two [losses],” returner Steve Suter said.

Maryland downsized its offense after a mediocre start by quarterback Scott McBrien. While the senior was still uneven, missing several downfield opportunities, he did connect on some deep routes. McBrien completed 12 of 20 for 178 yards in the first half before Orlando Evans opened the third quarter.

“He’s not where we want him to be,” Friedgen said. “He’s still hesitant on some throws. He played better. There are some areas to improve.”

The Terps also ran effectively for the first time this season despite running back Bruce Perry missing his second game with a high ankle sprain. Allen gained a career-high 136 yards on 11 carries, and Sammy “The Bull” Maldonado scored two touchdowns while collecting 66 yards on 12 carries. The Terps were simply too quick outside for the Bulldogs.

Maryland’s special teams continued to sparkle. Suter scored on a 75-yard punt return, his fifth return touchdown in two seasons. Kicker Nick Novak converted four field goals, running his perfect streak to seven this season. Adam Podlesh didn’t punt until 34 seconds were left in the third quarter and ripped a 60-yarder.

Defensively, Maryland permitted only two first downs and 41 yards in the first half. The starters departed after The Citadel’s opening drive of the second half. Bulldogs quarterback Willie Simmons completed three of 20 passes for 47 yards with one interception.

“To hold somebody to three receptions is amazing,” cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. “It’s hard to hold anybody scoreless.”

Maryland’s first three scores couldn’t have been more different. Allen went untouched down the left side for a 72-yard touchdown on the first snap — the Terps’ longest run in two years. Maryland then went 99 yards on 12 plays before Maldonado bowled over two Bulldogs on a 7-yard touchdown run. Suter followed with a 75-yard punt return after shaking a tackler at Maryland’s 30-yard line for a 21-0 lead with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter.

The Terps nearly scored again on the next punt return by Jo Jo Walker, whose 36-yard return was ended by the last Bulldog defender. Allen’s 7-yard touchdown run was negated by a holding penalty, forcing Novak’s 31-yard field goal for a 24-0 lead with 42 seconds left in the quarter.

Maldonado’s 3-yard touchdown for a 31-0 advantage with 11:50 remaining in the first half capped five carries for 43 yards during the drive by the junior, including a 16-yard reception. Novak followed with 38- and 21-yarders to become Maryland’s third-leading career scorer with 235 points. McBrien added a 1-yard plunge with no time remaining for a 44-0 halftime lead.

The Terps didn’t slump despite playing backups in the second half. Novak opened with a 42-yard field goal before Evans threw his first career touchdown pass — a 62-yarder to receiver Derrick Fenner — for a 54-0 lead with 3:52 left in the third quarter. Running back Mario Merrills capped the rout with a 4-yard touchdown run with 4:54 remaining.

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