Maryland Football Stomps West Virginia, 33-0
Sept. 18, 1999
By DAVID GINSBURG
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It's painfully obvious that this year's West Virginia football team isn't nearly as good as the one that made its third straight postseason appearance last year.
That didn't make Maryland's 33-0 victory Saturday any less enjoyable for the Terrapins, who enjoyed a measure of revenge and served notice that the long-suffering program is on the rise.
LaMont Jordan ran for a career-high 164 yards and unbeaten Maryland matched its victory total of last season with a surprising rout of the Mountaineers (1-2).
Calvin McCall threw two touchdown passes for Maryland (3-0), which last opened a season with three straight wins in 1995. It was the Terrapins' most significant victory under coach Ron Vanderlinden, who went 5-17 in his first two years.
"Whether it's the West Virginia of last year or not, that really doesn't matter. We proved to ourselves that we can play with the biggest programs in the country," said Maryland defensive end Peter Timmins, who had three tackles and an interception.
Maryland had lost three straight to the Mountaineers (1-2) by a combined 86-34 score, but this time the Terrapins stymied an attack that was averaging 33 points per game. West Virginia's Marc Bulger threw four interceptions and was held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 17 games dating back to 1997.
"I'll take the blame for the way the offense played today. We definitely didn't show up," Bulger said. "It makes you mad. The coaches work so hard. We work so hard during the summer, and to come out and perform like we did today, it didn't look like we had practice yet."
It was the Mountaineers' worst shutout loss since a 33-0 drubbing by Penn State in 1976 and their most lopsided defeat since a 41-7 loss to Florida in the 1993 Sugar Bowl.
"We couldn't have beaten anybody today," coach West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said. "It didn't matter who we played. We just happened to play Maryland."
Bulger, who was lifted midway through the fourth quarter, went 17-for-30 for 152 yards. The four interceptions tied a career high, and he also lost a fumble that Maryland returned for a score.
Jordan gained a career-low one yard on nine carries in last year's game against the Mountaineers, but on this occasion he had little difficulty piercing a defense that had allowed a whopping 479 yards rushing in two games. Jordan carried 22 times, caught two passes and scored Maryland's first touchdown.
"I think after last year's game, LaMont had something to prove," Vanderlinden said.
McCall was 11-for-19 for 178 yards as the Terrapins amassed 427 yards in offense. The defense, meanwhile, recorded its second shutout in three games.
"It's a big win for everybody," Timmins said. "I'm going to feel good walking around the campus tonight, knowing we shut out a big team."
Maryland went up 19-0 late in the third quarter when McCall ended an 83-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Eric James. Lewis Sanders then took a stray pitchout by Bulger 28 yards into the end zone on the final play of the period.
McCall followed Bulger's fourth interception with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Matt Kalapinski for a 33-0 lead.
After the game ended, thousands of red-clad fans charged onto the field to celebrate, a rare occurrence at Byrd Stadium this decade.
Each team had a turnover in the scoreless first quarter, and the Mountaineers also missed a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Maryland finally made something happen early in the second period. After West Virginia failed to convert a fake punt, Jermaine Harrington made a juggling catch on a long pass for a 62-yard gain to set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Jordan.
That turned out to be all the offense Maryland needed.
The Terrapins' previous seven wins in the Vanderlinden era came against decidedly weaker teams: Temple three times, Duke twice, James Madison and Western Carolina.
"We're trying to reach a bowl game, and coach Vanderlinden says to get into a bowl game, you've got to beat a team that's been to a bowl game before," Maryland linebacker Aaron Thompson said. "To beat them was great for our confidence."