Virginia Tops Maryland, 31-13
Nov. 5, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Danny O'Brien threw for 241 yards and senior receiver Quintin McCree had 117 yards receiving, but Virginia beat Maryland, 31-13, on Saturday in an ACC football game played at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The Terrapins committed five turnovers Saturday in loss that ended any chance they had to earn a bowl invitation.
Maryland (2-7, 1-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) has dropped five straight under first-year coach Randy Edsall and hasn't beaten an FBS team since edging Miami in the opener.
But there are three games left to play, and Edsall expects his players use the final weeks of the season to improve.
"One of our goals is gone from this year," Edsall said, "but it is all up to us work to get better. That is exactly what we are going to do. It's disappointing, but we have to go and get better."
Although the Terrapins yielded the game's final 24 points, Edsall insisted that his team played hard to the final whistle.
"I don't think anyone checked out today," he said. "These young men know we have Notre Dame next week and we are going to play as hard as we can."
The Terrapins' last victory was on Oct. 1 against Towson.
"We're hungry for a win," safety Eric Franklin said. "We haven't won in over a month."
"It's difficult," Brown said. "But you have to prepare to go in and do what you can do. Unfortunately, today wasn't one of those days that was easy to stay warm and loose."
O'Brien can't believe that a season that started with such an uplifting win has gone completely sour.
"It's something we never imagined," he said. "But here we are."
Perry Jones ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns, Michael Rocco threw for two scores, and Virginia (6-3, 3-2) qualified for a bowl bid for the first time since 2007.
It was also the Cavaliers' first victory in November in 14 tries since Nov. 10, 2007.
"I'm extremely humbled because of where the program was, the progress we're trying to make, and the ups and downs you have with your players," second-year coach Mike London said. "It's gratifying to make something significant out of this season. The bowl eligible part of it is good, that's a nice thing, but I'm in the business of developing players, their attitudes and how they respond to adversity."
Playing on the road against a fierce rival, the Cavaliers trailed 13-7 in the second quarter. They responded by scoring the game's final 24 points for their fourth win in six games.
Rocco completed 23 of 36 passes for 307 yards in his second game since London ditched a two-quarterback rotation.
Jones scored on the game's initial play from scrimmage and added a 1-yard touchdown run in the pivotal third quarter, when the Cavaliers outscored the Terrapins 14-0 to take a 28-13 lead. He had 100 yards rushing in the first half alone.
Rodney McLeod has three interceptions for Virginia, which yielded only 121 yards in offense after halftime.
With Virginia up 14-13 in the third quarter, London kept his offense on the field for a fourth-and-goal at the Maryland 1. Jones bounced off left tackle for a touchdown, ending a 95-yard drive that lasted nearly six minutes.
O'Brien responded with a 39-yard completion to Quintin McCree, but two plays later the quarterback threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by McLeod at the Virginia 27.
That led to a 17-yard touchdown pass from Rocco to Max Milien, and a fourth-quarter field goal made it 31-13 with 13:38 left.
The Cavaliers needed only 20 seconds to blunt the enthusiasm of the home crowd following a Senior Day ceremony in which Maryland honored 16 players before their final home game.
After Virginia's Khalek Shepherd took the opening kickoff 48 yards, Jones ran for a 47-yard touchdown.
Maryland struggled offensively until late in the first quarter, when O'Brien completed successive passes of 35 and 22 yards to Kerry Boykins to set up a first-and-goal at the Virginia 9. A false start penalty interrupted the momentum, and the Terrapins had to settle for a field goal by Nick Ferrara.
The Cavaliers then moved to the Maryland 20 before Clifton Richardson lost a fumble, a momentum-changing miscue.
Brown entered at quarterback for the Terrapins, who moved 83 yards in four plays to take a 10-7 lead. Key plays were a 42-yard run by Davin Meggett, a 25-yard run by Brown and a 13-yard touchdown catch by tight end Devonte Campbell.
Midway through the second quarter, the Terrapins stuffed Virginia running back Kevin Parks on a fourth-and-1 at the Maryland 40. The Terrapins got a first-and-goal at the 2, but couldn't push the ball into the end zone and called upon Ferrara to kick a field goal.
Rocco then foiled a blitz with a 34-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Parks, capping a four-play drive that took only 67 seconds.
Material from the Associated Press contributed to the story