Sept. 20, 1997
Maryland Downed by North Carolina
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Oscar Davenport threw a pair of touchdown passes and seventh-ranked North Carolina overcame a sluggish start to score 26 straight points and rout Maryland, 40-14, in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Davenport, making his first start of the season, threw scoring strikes of 14 yards to Na Brown and 19 yards to Jason Peace to make North Carolina (3-0) a winner in its conference opener. The Tar Heels were playing on the road for the first time after wins over Indiana and Stanford.
Chris Keldorf started at quarterback the first two weeks, but once again it was Davenport who had the better game, completing 21-of-33 passes for 281 yards with no interceptions. Davenport threw two touchdown passes last week against Stanford.
Head coach Mack Brown said he informed Davenport of his decision on Thursday.
"We didn't tell the team. They knew that both QBs would play today and felt like both would play very well," Brown said. "I think it sent a message to everybody that regardless of which one is in we would have won the game today."
Keldorf played the second series of the game and failed to move the Tar Heels. He was not used again until the fourth quarter, when he threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to L.C. Stevens.
Maryland opened the scoring when quarterback Brian Cummings went around left end for a three-yard touchdown run 3:10 into the second quarter.
North Carolina responded 4 1/2 minutes later when Davenport found Brown in the back of the end zone. A one-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Linton with 1:09 left in the second quarter capped a 12-play, 61-yard drive and gave the Tar Heels a 14-7 halftime lead.
The Tar Heels responded with two quick scores in the third quarter, helped by a fumble by Maryland's Brian Underwood on the first play from scrimmage. Safety Omar Brown recovered and North Carolina capitalized with a 25-yard field goal by Josh McGee.
Davenport marched the Tar Heels 94 yards in just three plays on North carolina's next possession. He connected on a 51-yard pass to Octavus Barnes and then hit Peace for a 24-yarder and the 19-yard score to make it 24-7.
"I feel like the offense started out slow and we had a couple of mental mistakes," Davenport said. "We picked it up and we came back and we ended up getting the win."
Peace caught five passes for 105 yards while Stevens caught nine balls for 114 yards.
Cummings was tackled in the end zone for a safety and the touchdown pass by Keldorf made it 33-7.
Lewis Sanders of Maryland returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and defensive end Stephon McQueen capped the scoring by returning a fumble 17 yards for a score for North Carolina.
North Carolina recorded eight sacks for minus-53 yards. Cummings was on the receiving end of seven of the sacks and completed 13-of-20 passes for 120 yards.
Maryland (0-3, 0-2 ACC) lost to a top-10 team from the ACC for the second week in a row. The Terrapins were routed by Florida State, 50-7, last week.
"We have to learn to finish and with each step we get closer," said Maryland first-year coach Ron Vanderlinden. "On the other side of that, the outfit on the other side of the field is in the 10th year of its program and they've got something to say about that whole process."