Maryland Zips Past Akron, 44-14

Sept 7, 2002

NOTE: Comcast SportsNet will re-broadcast Maryland's 44-14 victory over Akron this Sunday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. ET.

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AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Scott McBrien scored two touchdowns and Steve Suter returned a punt 81 yards for a score as Maryland built a 28-point halftime lead and cruised past Akron 44-14 Saturday.

Maryland (1-1) amassed 209 yards and 18 first downs in the first half alone after being held to 133 yards and eight first downs in a 22-0 loss to Notre Dame one week earlier.

McBrien, who was yanked in his Maryland debut, quickly rebounded against the Zips (0-2). He scored from the 2 yard-line and threw an 8-yard touchdown pass in the first nine minutes, then directed two more scoring drives to put Maryland up 35-7 at halftime.

At that point, the defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions could begin looking ahead to next week's showdown against No. 5 Florida State.

With Maryland up 41-7 in the third quarter, coach Ralph Friedgen began pulling his starters, including McBrien, who finished 9-of-15 for 110 yards.

The Terrapins, who punted only once, have won eight straight at home.

Akron, coming off a 57-21 defeat at Iowa, had more penalties (nine) than first downs (four) in the decisive first half. But the Zips' performance was an improvement from a week earlier, when Iowa took a 37-0 lead in the first quarter.

Charlie Frye, who went 21-of-29 for two touchdowns and no interceptions against Iowa, was intercepted three times by Maryland before leaving at the start of the fourth quarter.

After being shut out for the first time since 1998, the Terrapins moved 74 yards in nine plays after the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead.

After the Zips went three-and-out deep in their own territory, McBrien finished a 46-yard drive with a TD pass to Derrick Fenner.

This time, Akron responded. After converting a third-and-16, the Zips closed to 14-7 on a 65-yard TD pass from Frye to Nick Sparks.

But Suter, after bobbling the 54-yard kick by Akron's Andy Jerdon, burst up the middle and through the coverage for Maryland's first punt return for a touchdown since Jermaine Lewis did it in 1995.

A 3-yard run by Jason Crawford made it 28-7, and a fumble recovery by Maryland's Dennard Wilson at the Akron 33 led to a 1-yard TD run by Downs.

Nick Novak kicked two field goals in the third quarter. The first one was set up by an interception by All-ACC linebacker E.J. Henderson.