- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 11, 2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. | Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner authored a career outing on the night he broke his school’s passing record.

Of course, he had a little help - and not necessarily from his friends.

Skinner shredded Maryland in a 42-32 victory Saturday at BB&T Field, abetted as much by his own surgical skills as the Terrapins defense’s dramatic regression.

“We were blowing coverages,” Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. “Guys were supposed to be in third and they were in half. Guy was supposed to be deep middle, and he jumped an underneath route. It’s like we never played those coverages before.”

Skinner threw for 360 yards and a career-high four touchdowns, torching the Terps (2-4, 1-1 ACC) on a day they could have assumed an enviable position in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.

Instead, they left two games under .500 overall and even in the ACC loss column with Wake Forest - even if the chasm between the two seemed severe after a lopsided first half.

“Really, right now, our fate’s in our hands,” quarterback Chris Turner said. “That’s the reality right now.”

Of course, there’s also plenty to fix on defense entering the second half of the season.

Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1) rolled up 516 yards, pulverizing a Maryland defense that had barely yielded that total in the previous two games combined. It was a step back to the muddled mess the Terps resembled in their season opener at California, one of only two other times in Friedgen’s tenure an opponent soared past 500 yards.

And the pain permeated beyond the ugly box score. Left guard Lamar Young suffered a shoulder injury and wasn’t seen in the second half. Linebacker Adrian Moten was in and out with a thigh contusion. And redshirt freshman Demetrius Hartsfield, who took some lumps after a strong outing a week earlier, suffered what Friedgen believed was a broken hand.

The status for all three for next week’s visit from Virginia was not immediately available, but gathering a pulse on the Terps was a bit easier. For nearly the entire first half of the season, Friedgen’s mantra was to reduce penalties and turnovers.

Both took a back seat to a far different culprit Saturday night: old-fashioned lousy play.

“We played obviously very poorly in the first half, and they played very good,” Friedgen said.

It was certain not long after kickoff the Terps could be two games clear of everyone in the Atlantic with a victory. Boston College and N.C. State both lost in the afternoon, and Wake Forest would have suffered its second conference loss if Maryland could secure a victory in its conference road opener.

It wasn’t much longer before something else became blatantly clear: Maryland was fundamentally incapable of stopping the Demon Deacons.

For much of the first 30 minutes, the Terps demonstrated an aversion to pass coverage, with a holding penalty almost a sign of progress in that regard. Skinner ruthlessly picked on cornerbacks Cameron Chism and Anthony Wiseman and quite often found little resistance in the same area code as his preferred targets.

When he connected with Anthony Parker for a 20-yard score to make it 35-10, it was worth looking around to see if Maryland had 11 men on the field as the rules prescribe.

“They were making some plays, but we weren’t helping our situation,” linebacker Alex Wujciak said.

Maryland abandoned the run early, and tailbacks Davin Meggett, Gary Douglas and Caleb Porzel combined for a dozen carries.

Quarterback Chris Turner emerged as the Terps’ top rusher, gaining 27 yards. He also threw for 307 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, twice connecting on scores with Adrian Cannon in the second half.

The first of those strikes brought Maryland within 35-17 in the middle of the third quarter. Trouble was, the defense was required to return to the field and was quickly carved up again. Skinner, who engineered touchdown drives on Wake Forest’s first five possessions, did so again with a drive capped when Chris Givens juked Chism and then high-stepped through the end zone.

“We missed a heck of an opportunity,” Friedgen said. “If we could have gotten a win on the road against a good Wake Forest team, then they’re only going to help you down the road. We’re still only one loss in the conference. I told them I’m going to build on the second half. I can’t do anything about the whole game, so we’d better get worried about getting ready for Virginia.”

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