Sept 29, 2001
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Unbeaten Maryland? Unbelievable.
Bruce Perry ran for 153 yards and a touchdown Saturday as the surprising Terrapins won their fourth straight, 32-20 over error-prone West Virginia.
"No one here has ever been 4-0. Man, this feels good," said Maryland senior Guilian Gary, who had six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
MARYLAND has recorded one winning season since 1990 and hasn't been to a bowl game in a decade. But the Terrapins are soaring to new heights under Ralph Friedgen, who joins H.C. Byrd as the only two coaches to begin their first season at MARYLAND with four straight wins.
Friedgen insisted his team is still a work in progress, but he wasn't about to argue with the results.
"I'd rather be 4-0 than 0-4," he said. "The fact that we're finding a way to win, isn't that nice?"
It was the fourth straight 100-yard game for Perry, who carried 31 times and caught two passes for 28 yards against a defense geared to stop him.
"He stuck some people," Friedgen said. "When you get 150 yards and they're bound and determined to stop you, that's a heck of a statement."
Shaun Hill threw for a touchdown and ran for another as Maryland improved to 4-0 for the second time since 1978. The 1995 team started 4-0 but faded to a 6-5 finish and did not receive a bowl bid.
"It's great to be 4-0, but we can't stop now," Hill said.
Avon Cobourne ran for 128 yards and Shawn Terry returned a kickoff 100 yards for West Virginia (2-2). But Brad Lewis threw four interceptions and the Mountaineers lost two fumbles.
"It's very frustrating," West Virginia first-year coach Rich Rodriguez said. "You're not going to beat anybody with six turnovers, especially a pretty good Maryland team. I know we're going to get it corrected, and we need to get it corrected in a hurry."
The Mountaineers' fifth turnover enabled the Terrapins to take a 25-13 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. After Randall Jones returned an interception 30 yards, Gary caught a pass from Hill in front of Lance Frazier on a slant pattern and sprinted the rest of the way for a 29-yard score.
Terry followed with fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown, cruising down the right sideline to make it 25-20.
Maryland then got some breathing room with an 81-yard drive capped by Hill's 1-yard sneak with 12:11 left. Perry accounted for 47 yards, including 18 on a pass from Hill.
"Bruce had a phenomenal game," Hill said. "We knew they were going to try to take him out of the game, but we were able to run him some plays and he was able to break some and get good yards."
Maryland took advantage of two turnovers to go up 19-13 at halftime. West Virginia's first possession ended with an interception in the end zone by Tony Jackson, and late in the half Mike Whaley scooped up a Lewis fumble and ran 52 yards for a touchdown.
Lewis went 31-for-52 for 279 yards and a touchdown, but his five turnovers were too much for the Mountaineers to overcome. Antonio Brown, who had 10 catches for 108 yards, also lost a fumble.
"We had a lot of positive things," Brown said. "It's just those little things can come back to bite you. We have to take advantage of our opportunities as an offense."
The Terrapins went ahead 7-0 in the first quarter when backup Marc Riley scored from the 3 after a 27-yard burst by Perry, his longest run of the day.
Aided by three 15-yard Maryland penalties, the Mountaineers responded with a field goal by Brendan Rauh. But the Terrapins made it 13-3 on a 6-yard TD run by Perry.
Rauh then kicked a field goal on a drive prolonged by a roughing the passer penalty on a third-down incompletion. After a Maryland punt, the Mountaineers drew even with a 74-yard drive in which Lewis ran 21 yards on a fourth-and-2 before throwing an 8-yard TD pass to Phil Braxton.