Maryland Snaps Three-Game Losing Skid, 37 - 7
Oct. 21, 2000
By DAVID GINSBURG
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland wasn't looking for a blowout. After losing three straight, the Terrapins would have been grateful for a victory of any kind.
Then Wake Forest stomped all over the "M" at midfield, and things got personal.
Surprise starter Mukala Sikyala ran for a career-high 112 yards and a touchdown Saturday as inspired Maryland cruised to a 37-7 rout of the winless Demon Deacons.
"We were nervous before the game, but Wake did something stupid - they started jumping on our `M,"' Terrapins linebacker Kris Jenkins said. "Jumping on somebody's logo, that's wrong. A lot of people got ticked off, and we took it to them."
Led by Sikyala, Maryland (3-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) took control with touchdowns on its first two possessions and was never threatened.
It was 37-0 before the Demon Deacons (0-7, 0-5) finally scored.
"This is one of the few games I can say we didn't continue to improve," Wake Forest coach Jim Caldwell said.
Sikyala, whose previous career high was 50 yards rushing, had 86 yards in the first quarter alone. The senior had 14 carries after starting in place of LaMont Jordan, who was slowed by a hip pointer.
"I found out I was starting while catching kickoffs in warmups. I was surprised, ready and excited," Sikyala said. "It was definitely a long time coming."
Jordan entered late in the first quarter and gained 86 yards on 10 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown run.
"LaMont really wasn't at full speed all week. He wasn't able to practice
the way you need to practice," Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "Mookie
took most of the reps all week and I thought he looked good today."
So did the Maryland defense, which was scorched for 125 points during its three-game skid. Randall Jones punctuated the effort with a 90-yard interception return for a 30-0 lead.
Backed by a rushing attack that produced 233 yards, Maryland quarterback Calvin McCall went 15-for-22 for 208 yards and a touchdown.
"We needed a win," Vanderlinden said. "I was glad it turned out to be in the fashion it was, but I didn't expect it. I would have been happy with a one-point victory."
That's probably how the players felt until they saw the Deacons' pregame dance at midfield.
"We have a lot of team pride," Jenkins said. "That's one thing you don't do."
James MacPherson was 28-for-49 for 343 yards and three interceptions for Wake Forest. His 18-yard touchdown pass to Fabian Davis with 6:07 left ruined Maryland's bid for a shutout, but that was of little consolation.
"We just could not move the ball consistently," Caldwell said. "Once we were in scoring territory we just couldn't get it in the end zone."
Wake Forest had two turnovers and just 53 yards rushing in falling behind 14-0 at halftime.
The Terrapins went up 7-0 by moving 69 yards in six plays on their opening possession. Sikyala ran for 52 yards on the drive, including a 30-yarder on a third-and-1 and a 13-yard touchdown run.
Maryland then snuffed a fake field goal and moved 64 yards in the other direction to take a 14-0 lead. On fourth-and-2 from the Wake Forest 10, Jordan entered the game for the first time and served as a decoy, plunging into the line before McCall passed to wide-open tight end Jeff Dugan in the end zone.
After punting on their third possession, the Terrapins' next drive ended with Brian Kopka missing a 25-yard field goal.
Kopka made amends in the third quarter, ending Maryland's opening march with a 47-yard field goal into the wind.
Late in the period, the Terrapins blocked a short field goal try and moved 80 yards, going up 24-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Marc Riley.