The University of Maryland moved to 1-0 on the season with a 23-20 win over Northern Illinois tonight at Byrd Stadium. The Terps are now 67-43-2 all-time in season openers, 53-26-1 in season home openers and hold a 2-1 advantage in the series history against NIU. The win is also the team's sixth-straight win in its first game of a season at home (regardless of whether it was the actual season opener or not).
Tonight's win is the first to open a season since head coach Ralph Friedgen's first year in College Park (2001 vs. North Carolina).
The Terrapins are now 20-1 at home under Friedgen.
With 11 points tonight, senior Nick Novak became the ACC's all-time leading scorer. He now has 335 points for his career, surpassing the mark of Florida State's Scott Bentley who scored 326 from 1993-96.
Junior linebacker D'Qwell Jackson's superlative defensive effort included two interceptions for 36 yards, to bring his career total to four. Jackson totaled two interceptions in all of 2003, including one returned for a touchdown. Jackson registered nine tackles vs. the Huskies.
Junior defensive end Shawne Merriman led the Terps on the defensive side of the ball, with 11 tackles that included three tackles for loss, and a nine-yard sack.
Curtis Williams' second quarter blocked punt was his first this year and the fourth of his career. (He has also blocked one career kick to go along with the four punts).
Williams' block was the first by a Terp since he blocked a punt last year against Wake Forest, Nov. 29, 2003.
The Terps' first score of the day came on a nine-yard TD run by Sammy Maldonado. The score was the senior's fourth as a Terp and fifth as a collegian (he scored once at Ohio State in 2000).
Josh Allen's 17th career TD came at the end of a four-play, 24-yard drive that began with a fumble on the first kick of the second half. The ball was fumbled by NIU's Dan Sheldon after being hit by Josh Wilson (it was ultimately recovered by David Holloway; the fumble recovery was the first of his career).
Allen led the Terps with 102 rushing yards on 22 carries, marking the fourth 100-yard rushing game of his career. He posted a 257-yard game against Virginia last Nov. 13, a 144-yard performance against NC State last Nov. 22 and a 116-yard game against West Virginia last Oct. 5.
Sophomore tight end Vernon Davis hauled in a career-high five receptions for a career-high 72 yards.
Jason Hawkins' 84-yard touchdown on a fumble return marked the first time a Maryland opponent has scored a touchdown on a fumble return since LeVar Talley performed the feat on September 26, 1998 with a 10-yard return for the Temple Owls.
Tonight's attendance was 51,830, the eighth-largest crowd in Byrd Stadium history. The crowd is also the second-largest crowd to see a home opener in Maryland history (largest was 54,715 vs. West Virginia in 1983, the second-largest crowd in school lore).
Several Terp first starts tonight: Statham, Lombardo, Davis, Bonham, Haigler, Bolston, Holloway, Kershaw, Kelley, Custis, Scott.
Next week's opponent, Temple, lost to Virginia, 44-14.