- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 12, 2006

This time, Darrius Heyward-Bey knew what was coming.

The redshirt freshman wideout caught two touchdowns against an erstwhile Sunshine State superpower for the second time in three weeks, sparking Maryland’s 14-13 victory over Miami.

Moments after the clock expired, Heyward-Bey found himself aloft amid a sea of students at Byrd Stadium, the crowd chanting his last name as it carried him off the field.

“It happened at the Florida State game and it was something I didn’t want to happen. It was kind of a ‘Whoa, whoa, put me down’ kind of deal,” Heyward-Bey said. “This game I knew it was going to happen, so I just let it happen and I went with the flow once again. As long as they got me toward the locker room, I’m good with that.”

Heyward-Bey caught five passes for 175 yards and two long touchdowns yesterday to provide all the offense the No. 23 Terrapins (8-2, 5-1 ACC) needed to fend off the Hurricanes (5-5, 2-4).

“He’s just starting to become a very good football player,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “He has something we haven’t had in a while, and that’s great speed, world class speed. He’s got a lot of fundamentals to get better at, but he’s a kid who comes to practice every day to get better. The progress he has made from spring practice to now is phenomenal.”

Miami would have to agree. On Maryland’s second play from scrimmage, Heyward-Bey found cornerback Randy Phillips pressing him at the line of scrimmage. The former high school track star promptly jetted past Phillips and hauled in a 65-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hollenbach.

Two possessions later, the Terps were seemingly stuck in a rushing situation when Miami pinned them inside the 5. Instead, Heyward-Bey came in motion on the right side toward the ball, then scorched Glenn Sharpe for a 96-yard touchdown reception. It was the longest play in school history, breaking a record set in 1949.

“There were just some long routes that were perfect for them,” said Heyward-Bey, who picked up on some of Miami’s tendencies while watching tape from September of Louisville’s 31-7 victory over the Hurricanes. “They like to press and get hands on you, but if you make a good move off the line of scrimmage, you’ll be good to go.”

The next time Heyward-Bey came onto the field, Miami cornerback Brandon Meriweather was waiting for him with a message at the line.

“Meriweather was like ‘Those other guys can’t cover you, but I’ve got you for the rest of the game,’ ” Heyward-Bey said.

Trouble was, Meriweather’s move was just a bit late.

Like the rest of the Terps’ offense — which managed only 57 yards after the second touchdown — Heyward-Bey was held in check for the rest of the game. Still, the two touchdown catches alone created a virtuoso performance even the rapidly improving receiver will have trouble matching as he continues to mature.

“It’s just fun,” Heyward-Bey said. “I know I’m making plays. I don’t know if it’s luck and I don’t know if it’s skill, but right now it’s working.”

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