No. 23 Terps Dominate Duke, 55-21

Sept. 25, 2004

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AP Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.C. - Joel Statham threw four touchdown passes to offset a host of mistakes Saturday, and No. 23 Maryland piled up 685 yards in total offense to beat winless Duke 55-21.

For the second straight game, Statham was intercepted three times, and he also was charged with three fumbles. That gives him seven interceptions and eight fumbles in four games for the Terrapins (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who bounced back from an overtime loss to West Virginia last week.

Vernon Davis caught three of the TDs - the first of his career - and Rich Parson had the other as Maryland won its fifth straight over the Blue Devils (0-4, 0-2). Statham finished 22-for-37 for 362 yards, and the Terrapins added 277 on the ground. Their 100th play came on the final snap, and they finished with 35 first downs.

Duke managed to take a lead for the fourth straight game, one of the few bright spots in what is fast becoming another miserable season for the Blue Devils. Starting tailback Cedric Dargan missed his third game in row, and starting wide receiver Senterrio Landrum also was out of the lineup.

In a hope to generate offense - Duke ranked 114th out of 117 Division I-A teams in yards coming in - coach Ted Roof rotated quarterbacks Mike Schneider, Chris Dapolito and Curt Dukes, with two of three sometimes on the field at the same time.

The ploy didn't work. The Blue Devils were held to a second-low 185 yards, lowering their average to 223, but they did manage to score a touchdown on special teams, offense and defense for the first time since 1977.

Chris Davis returned a kickoff 94 yards for one TD, cornerback John Talley ran back an interception 85 yards for another and Schneider threw a 6-yard scoring toss to Ben Patrick.

Those big plays all came in the first half, and Talley's score gave Duke a 21-17 lead. That came on Statham's second interception, and his first ruined a chance for the Terrapins to go ahead 17-7.

On third-and-goal from the 5, he rolled to his right and was hurried by linebacker Eli Nichols. Statham threw back across his body, and C.J. Woodard stepped in front of a receiver for his first career interception.

Later in the first half, after the Terrapins took a 24-21 lead, Statham made a poor pitch on an option, and tailback Sammy Maldonado was forced to fall on it for an 8-yard loss. That brought out Maryland punter Adam Podlesh for the first time.

Statham also botched a snap and fumbled after a sack, and his other interception came on a batted ball early in the third quarter.