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Defense shines for Terrapins

October 05, 2003

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Scott McBrien, surviving a sometimes sluggish offensive effort, praised the Maryland defense after the Terrapins' first Atlantic Coast Conference win.

McBrien threw three touchdown passes as Maryland beat Clemson 21-7 Saturday for its fourth straight victory.

"The defense was a savior," McBrien said after Maryland's first victory over a team above .500. "They've played so well lately and they were one play away from holding them to a shutout."

Steve Suter, Rich Parson and Derrick Fenner had touchdown receptions to help the Terrapins (4-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) defeated the Tigers for the third straight time since Ralph Friedgen took over as head coach.

But it was Maryland's defense that made up for an offense that sputtered after taking a 14-0 lead. The Terrapins held Clemson (3-2, 1-1) to 10 rushing yards on 29 carries, intercepted two passes and kept Tigers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst scrambling for much of the game.

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"They're really talented at wide receiver, but our defense made them one-dimensional," Friedgen said.

Derrick Hamilton caught seven passes for a career-high 175 yards and a touchdown for Clemson, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

"The plays we didn't make, you have to make those to win the game," Tigers coach Tommy Bowden said. "Obviously, our running game, we've still got to improve."

Absent a ground game, the responsibility for creating offense fell to Whitehurst, who completed 22 of 45 attempts for 320 yards.

"A running game would be nice to balance the attack, but I feel like, if I'm throwing the ball, then we got a chance to win it," Whitehurst said.

The game attracted 51,455 to Byrd Stadium, the third straight sellout and the first time the Terrapins have drawn in more than 50,000 fans for three consecutive home games.

Josh Allen led Maryland with 65 yards rushing on 16 carries.

The Terrapins limited Clemson to minus-14 yards on the ground in the first half and took a 14-7 lead on a pair of scoring passes by McBrien, who finished 14-for-27 for 204 yards.

McBrien capped off a 12-play, 68-yard drive by connecting with Suter on a crossing pattern good for a 25-yard touchdown with 5:41 left in the first quarter.

Parson hauled in a 10-yard scoring reception from McBrien in the right side of the end zone, extending the lead to 14-0 on the third play of the second quarter.

Clemson's passing game was largely ineffective in the first half, save for the 70-yard touchdown pass from Whitehurst to Hamilton that cut Maryland's lead in half with 2:33 left in the second period.

Fenner scored on a 69-yard pass from McBrien late in the third quarter for a 21-7 lead.

On third-and-10, Fenner got bumped out of bounds by a cornerback Tye Hill, but came back onto the field. Fenner then outleaped Hill in front of the Clemson bench to corral McBrien's floater, cut back across the field and outraced the defender to the end zone.

"It was a big, big play," Friedgen said. "I didn't want that last (Clemson) drive at 14-7."

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