Terps Throttle Tigers, 37-20
Nov 10, 2001
By DAVID GINSBURG
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Shaun Hill passed for 189 yards and two touchdowns as No. 13 Maryland ended an eight-game skid against Clemson and gained sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 37-20 victory Saturday night.
Adding another highlight to a remarkable turnaround season, the Terrapins (9-1, 6-1) thrilled a rare sellout crowd by taking a 17-6 halftime lead and cruising behind a defense that had four second-half interceptions.
Maryland led 34-6 in the fourth quarter before Clemson (5-4, 3-4) managed to make the final score appear deceptively close. When the game ended, thousands of fans stormed the field to celebrate.
The victory, combined with Florida State's upset loss to North Carolina State, means Maryland can win its first ACC title since 1985 and earn a spot in a BCS bowl game with a victory at N.C. State next Saturday.
It's pretty heady stuff for a team that has not been to a bowl game since 1990 and had only two winning seasons over the previous 15 years.
The Terrapins leaped another hurdle by beating Clemson, which had won 13 of the last 14 games in the series and outscored Maryland 214-56 in winning eight straight since 1992.
That was before first-year coach Ralph Friedgen took over the struggling program at his alma mater. Playing with the same confidence and poise they've showed all season, the Terrapins scored on their first possession and never let up in delighting the largest crowd at Byrd Stadium (52,462) since 1983.
Maryland finished 7-0 at home, a school record, and has already scored more points (364) than any team in school history.
After throwing for 177 yards in the decisive first half, Hill did most of
his work on the ground after halftime, finishing with 54 yards on 12 carries.
Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler left early in the fourth quarter after going 11-for-22 for 153 yards and a career-high three interceptions. He had only 30 yards rushing, 62 below his season average.
His replacement, Willie Simmons, threw an interception on his first pass, setting up Marc Riley's second touchdown for a 34-6 lead.
Clemson's Derrick Hamilton returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Simmons connected with Roscoe Crosby on a 12-yard touchdown pass with 8:21 left, but it did little to erase the sting of the Tigers' third loss in four games.
Wasting no time in proving that big-game jitters would not be a factor, the Terrapins moved 80 yards after the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead. Hill completed two third-down passes and Clemson was called for two straight penalties before Riley bulled in from the 1.
Dantzler then ran for 19 yards and passed for 27 in a drive that ended with a 26-yard field goal by Aaron Hunt.
Hunt kicked a 44-yarder early in the second quarter, but the Terrapins followed with a 6-minute drive that produced a 29-yard field goal by Nick Novak and a 10-6 lead.
Following a Clemson punt, the Terrapins moved 59 yards in six plays and took a 17-6 lead on a 10-yard pass from Hill to Guilian Gary. Hill went 3-for-3 for 48 yards on the drive.
Hill threw a 7-yard TD pass to Bruce Perry to make it 24-6.