- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2008

The potent offense Maryland promised throughout camp arrived the last two weeks at Byrd Stadium.

Now the real fun begins for the Terrapins.

With a combined 86 points in back-to-back weeks, Maryland rolls into conference play after producing a 51-24 victory over Eastern Michigan, the Terps’ first 50-point outing in nearly four years.

“It’s just awesome,” quarterback Chris Turner said. “I don’t think I’ve scored 50 points since high school.”

The demolition left Maryland in a position that might have been anticipated in the preseason. How the Terps got to 3-1 entering Saturday’s visit to No. 20 Clemson (3-1, 1-0 ACC) was not so predictable.

It was only a fortnight ago that Maryland was reeling from a loss to Middle Tennessee. But even before that, there was a sluggish victory over Delaware that belied new offensive coordinator James Franklin’s belief that his scheme would thrive.

And never was the force of Franklin’s convictions more clear to his new players than when he entered the locker room at halftime of the opener as the Terps nursed a 7-0 lead.

“He’s like, ‘You guys have a lot of scoring to do in the second half,’” Turner said.

It didn’t come then, nor the next week. But a 21-point burst in just more than a quarter against then No. 23 California was a harbinger for a rare event for Maryland - a nonconference blowout.

The absence of tailback Da’Rel Scott, who is expected to play this week after sitting out as a precaution with a sprained left shoulder, did little to derail Maryland’s offense Saturday.

The Terps’ 486 total yards were their most since a 2005 meeting at North Carolina - a span of 32 games - and helped Maryland produce its largest margin of victory at home since 2003.

Suddenly, those offensive worries have dissipated to a large degree.

“I think we could have scored 50 on Cal if we hadn’t had a bad third or fourth quarter,” guard Phil Costa said. “I think it’s great for the offense. We have guys who are producing.”

Maryland’s timing is impeccable. Coach Ralph Friedgen informed his team of the crucial three-game arc facing them immediately after Saturday’s game. There’s the trip to Clemson, followed by a road meeting with reeling Virginia that will take the Terps into their first bye week.

Then comes a visit from Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0 ACC), which has dealt Maryland crushing losses in back-to-back seasons and emerged as a conference pace-setter after toppling Florida State on Saturday.

“It’s a big stretch, but my focus right now is just Clemson,” wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey said. “I don’t even know who we play after that.”

The Terps, though, remember whom they already have met. The Middle Tennessee loss once looked like it could spoil a promising season. Now, it’s a regret as Maryland heads into conference play in solid shape.

“It’s so hard thinking back that we could be 4-0 right now,” Turner said. “We could be ranked. Who knows? We have to be happy with it. We can’t complain. The first ACC game, we’re playing the ACC favorite. If we can just get that, that’ll be all the confidence we need.”

Notes - Friedgen said Sunday team physicians believe linebacker Adrian Moten has a torn ligament in his wrist. If Moten misses extended time, safety Antwine Perez could back up strongside linebacker Moise Fokou, as could walk-ons Aaron Ball and Femi Akinwande. …

Friedgen said it was possible cornerback Nolan Carroll (ankle), defensive tackle Travis Ivey (foot), safety Drew Robinson (elbow) and safety Terrell Skinner (ankle) could return this week. However, defensive end Mack Frost (knee) and wideout LaQuan Williams are not expected to play.

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