Oct. 18, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland played so well against No. 21 Wake Forest, it was almost impossible to single out offense, defense or special teams in the most significant win of an up-and-down season.
"We finally put a full game together. I think by far it's the best we've played all year," coach Ralph Friedgen said after the Terrapins cruised to a 26-0 victory on Saturday.
Does the credit go to the offense, which generated 470 yards? Or a defense that handed Wake Forest its first shutout in 124 games? What about the four field goals by Obe Egekeze?
Suffice to say it was a complete effort against what was one of only two unbeaten teams in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Chris Turner went 28-for-41 for 321 yards and a touchdown. His main target was wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had a career-high 11 catches for 101 yards and a score. This from a team that usually relies on the running game to generate points.
"They were so good against the rush, we knew we were going to have to throw the ball in order to run the ball," Friedgen said.
Maryland's Da'Rel Scott fumbled three times in the first half, but finished with 73 yards rushing and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Heyward-Bey. The Terrapins averaged 4.2 yards on their 33 carries.
It was the fifth straight win over a Top 25 team for the Terps (5-2, 2-1). Maryland also defeated California and Clemson this season, but lost 24-14 to unheralded Middle Tennessee State and 31-0 to Virginia.
This victory moved the Terrapins into a tie atop the league's Atlantic Division but didn't entirely erase the sting of those two inexplicable defeats.
"It doesn't take them away completely but it makes us feel better, that's for sure," Turner said. "Looking back, it doesn't feel good to know we lost some of those games we should have won. But it's in the past now. We've got to move on. At this point, our fate is in our own hands."
Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1) was in sole possession of first place before being rendered helpless by a defense that had two weeks to think about its collapse against Virginia. The Terrapins' last shutout of a ranked opponent was Sept. 24, 1955, 7-0 over top-ranked UCLA.
Riley Skinner, who came in as the league's top-ranked passer, went 14-for-30 for 127 yards and was sacked four times.
"I don't really know what happened out there. Don't take any credit away from MARYLAND, they played a really good game on defense," he said. "(But) we just did not play good, flat out. Everybody on offense, there's no one person in particular."
The Demon Deacons absorbed their first shutout since a 42-0 loss to Air Force in September 1998. The last time Wake Forest was blanked in an ACC game was in 1996, 52-0 at MARYLAND.
"In order to be good offensively, you have to execute. If you don't execute, your off the field pretty quick," coach Jim Grobe said. "Today we didn't execute very well."
The Demon Deacons were without injured kicker Sam Swank (leg), the school's career scoring leader. Redshirt freshman Shane Popham missed field-goal tries from 40 and 47 yards.
"Anytime your trade-off is a redshirt freshman for a fifth year senior, that's not real good," Grobe said.
Turner had 186 yards passing in the first half, and the Terrapins limited Wake Forest to 106 yards in offense in building a 13-0 lead.
Maryland won the toss and elected to receive - even though Friedgen told his team captain to defer the choice to the second half. The Terrapins promptly moved 58 yards in nine plays to go up 7-0. Turner went 4-for-5 for 40 yards and Heyward-Bey caught three passes for 27 yards, including a touchdown toss from Scott.
Fumbles by Scott twice gave Wake Forest the ball deep in Maryland territory, but Popham missed field goals to end each possession.
"It sort of sets the tone for the game," said D.J. Bouldin, who had seven catches for 72 yards. "Sometimes plays like that let you know what kind of game it's going to be. If we could have taken advantage of it, it would have been a different game."
Two plays after the second miss, Turner threw a 41-yard pass to Heyward-Bey, who leaped between two defenders and juggled the ball before making the catch on his back. That led to a 40-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Late in the half, Turner moved the Terrapins 52 yards in 60 seconds before Egekeze kicked a 39-yard field goal.
Maryland's first drive in the second half produced a 35-yard field goal, and Egekeze added a 26-yarder late in the quarter. Turner's last pass of the game was a 50-yard touchdown strike to Danny Oquendo with 4:33 left.