Few words work

October 18, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Ralph Friedgen made Knute Rockne look like a big bag of wind.

The old Notre Dame coach was known for his emotional "hit em high, hit em low ... Do it for the Gipper" speeches. Maryland's new coach is one of very few words.

He didn't need them. All Friedgen asked was one question at halftime - "Do you think we can play better?" The answer by the Terrapins was all action - a nod in the locker room and out-and-out domination in the second half of Thursday's nationally televised Atlantic Coast Conference game for a 34-10 pasting of Georgia Tech.

"We were fortunate to be up 6-3 at the half," Friedgen said. "We made adjustments on offense and defense. I told them they could play better. I told them it was going to come down to who wanted it more. They nodded. The offensive line stepped up, (quarterback Scott) McBrien played better in the second half and (tailback Chris) Downs, what can I tell you."


Downs was the star with his 212 yards rushing, but it was the total package as Maryland scored on the opening kickoff of the second half and never looked back. Georgia Tech's Rambling Wreck was looking for AAA coverage by the end of the third quarter.

"Coach told us what we had to get done in the second half," said Downs. "We had to execute."

Maryland ran the plays and Georgia Tech was the ones which got executed.

Downs took over the running game, running for 109 of his 212 yards and two of his three touchdowns in the first 15 minutes after halftime.

He turned the game around, opening the passing attack for McBrien and put the Yellow Jackets in chase mode the rest of the game.

Maryland showed Friedgen who wanted the game in dizzying fashion. Consider.

  • n Downs keyed the opening second-half drive by running the ball five times for 54 yards, including a crucial 21-yard burst up the middle with freshman Josh Allen in as a decoy. Georgia Tech followed Allen leaving all kinds of room in front of Downs. He capped the drive with a 15 yard around left end, breaking one tackle and dragging a second would-be tackler into the end zone with him.

  • Downs put the final touches on his performance with a perfect 64-yard sweep around right end in the fourth quarter for a backbreaking touchdown and a 27-3 lead. Downs accounted for all but 10 yards of Maryland's rushing. He was the first tailback to rush for more than 200 yards since Sept. 22, 2001, when his predecessor, Bruce Perry, ran for 276 vs. Wake Forest.

  • Receiver Scooter Monroe finished with 106 yards in catches, the first Maryland player in five years to do so.

    "When we get running like that, it makes the defense move up and allows us to throw over the middle," Monroe said. "When they come up, we have to go up and over the defense."

  • Maryland rolled for 209 yards in the third quarter alone, to all but change the game. The offensive line just opened the door, especially on Downs' 64-yard burst.

    "That wasn't me," Downs said. "I looked up and saw daylight. It was all the line. They pushed (Georgia Tech) off the line."

It was the latest big step in Maryland's ever-growing offense. And it comes at a time when the Terps needed it the most - at the start of the final push in the ACC.

"This was a big game for us to get in the win column," Friedgen said. "From here on out, we have to take care of business."

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