Sept. 18, 2004
By JOHN RABY
AP Sports Writer
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Rasheed Marshall has struggled throughout his career against Maryland. That didn't change Saturday - until it mattered most.
Marshall threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry in overtime to lift No. 7 West Virginia to a 19-16 victory over No. 21 Maryland.
West Virginia moved to 3-0 for the first time since 1996.
"People say we should not be a Top 10 team because the Big East is a weak conference," Marshall said. "Well, the Big East is not this team."
With John Denver's "Country Roads" playing over the stadium loudspeakers, the Mountaineer players stayed on the field for several minutes to celebrate their first win over Maryland in five tries.
"It wasn't a monkey on our back," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said. "It was like a big gorilla."
Maryland (2-1) suffered its first loss to the Mountaineers under coach Ralph Friedgen.
"They made one more play than we did, and that cost us the game," Friedgen said.
Marshall was coming off four TD passes against UCF last week, but had his fourth straight subpar effort against Maryland. He went 10-of-20 for 132 yards. His TD pass matched the total of his three previous games against the Terps.
But in the end, Marshall made the key plays for the Mountaineers and gained a little redemption.
In the locker room, Marshall held up a printout of an article quoting a Maryland player who questioned his leadership.
"When you go out and perform above what other people think that you will, it satisfies you," Marshall said. "And I did that today."
Rodriguez handed out two game balls - one to the defense, and one to Marshall for his perseverance.
"He really came back," Rodriguez said. "He never quit fighting and battling."
The Terps faced a fourth-and-short in the first overtime possession, but played it safe and sent out kicker Nick Novak.
"I was tempted to go for it on that fourth down," Friedgen said. "If you make it, you're a wise man. If you don't, you're not so wise."
After Novak kicked a 33-yarder to make it 16-13, Marshall had a pair of 5-yard runs before West Virginia was faced with a critical third down.
The team went to the line without calling a play because Rodriguez first wanted to see Maryland's scheme.
"You had our best wideout against their best DB, and they won a lot of those battles," Rodriguez said. "But we won the one at the end."
Marshall threw a dart to Henry on a slant pattern over the middle for the winner.
Henry's mother, Carolyn, was the first person to greet him in the end zone.
"My mom beat everyone to me. She was going nuts," Henry said. "We were hugging and jumping in the end zone. Then the rest of my teammates piled on.
"It was just a nice moment for everybody."
Kay-Jay Harris, who ran for a Big East-record 337 yards in West Virginia's opener but missed last week's game with a sore hamstring, rushed for 142 yards and one score.
In sophomore Joel Statham's first road start at quarterback, Maryland couldn't generate the type of offense it did in three previous blowout wins over West Virginia. Statham was 9-of-20 for 108 yards with one TD pass and three interceptions for Maryland.
"We were lucky to be as close as we were," Statham said.
Novak, the Atlantic Coast Conference's career scoring leader, missed a 49-yard field goal wide left with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter, and Maryland's Kevin Eli blocked Brad Cooper's 39-yard attempt with five seconds left to force overtime.
Adam Jones intercepted Statham twice. One of them set up Harris' 6-yard TD run in the first quarter.
The Mountaineers struggled to maintain drives against the only team currently ranked on their schedule. Four first-half possessions stalled in Maryland territory.
"Offensively, I thought we moved the ball pretty well. We just didn't finish drives," Rodriguez said.
Maryland came back from a 10-3 deficit. Statham hit Derrick Fenner for a 27-yard score over a leaping Jones late in the third quarter. Novak's 46-yard field goal with 9:23 remaining putting the Terps ahead 13-10.
Henry's 25-yard catch along the sidelines set up Cooper's 37-yarder that tied it with 6:20 left.