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Terps feed on revenge

November 14, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the record, the University of Maryland was a football team buried in subplots.

Thursday's game with Virginia was for contention for an Atlantic Coast Conference title andposition for a bowl game, as well as a remedy for a bad outing against Georgia Tech. It was also a proving ground of the Terps' worth in front of a national television audience.

All those were for the drama coaches and TV production crews.

The bottom line for the Terps was one underlying factor ... R-E-V-E-N-G-E.

All those other things set up nicely with Maryland's 27-17 win over Virginia - and there is still much work to do if the Terps want a premier bowl invitation.

But this one was a win that turned the bill for all the Maalox the Terps took after last year into a nice, hefty expense writeoff.

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"Revenge was on our minds," Maryland running back Josh Allen said after his two touchdown, 257-yard rushing performance. "You think about this, with the ACC title and this game being such a rivalry."

This game was the chance for the Terps to redeem all that never happened in 2002 thanks to a disappointing 48-13 loss to the Cavaliers that knocked Maryland out of contention for a share of the ACC title and into the Peach Bowl, the third-place bowl for the conference.

"Last year, we were embarrassed," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I didn't do a very good job coaching in that game. I said earlier this year that I have watched that film 10 times since then, now it must be 20. I watched it again last night before I left. I almost know it by heart."

There was no heart in question from the Terps on this day.

Maryland put it to the Cavs from the opening kickoff with a 11-play, 84-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead and built a 24-7 lead by the half.

"Revenge ... you better believe it was," Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien said. "It was amazing how last year's loss gave us momentum this year. We remember how we felt last year after the game ... they played well. In a strange way, it was the starting point for this season."

Last year, Maryland was on the verge of running the table and marching into a share of the ACC lead before falling on its face. The Peach Bowl was a great consolation, but it could have been much better.

"Last year really hurt us," defensive back Curome Cox said. "It would have been our 10th win in a row and a share of a title. Virginia hit us at a really crucial part of the schedule last year."

Maryland was more than ready to take another shot at Virginia and set the record straight. Again, it was a game to keep the Terps in the ACC race, at least in name, and it was a building block to a top-notch bowl as representatives from the Peach, Gator, Tangerine and Humanitarian Bowls were on hand.

Allen took matters pretty much in his own hands with 38 rushes for a career best as Maryland played without Bruce Perry and Sammy Maldonado, who were both injured. Allen accounted for 55 percent of the offense.

But now, the Terps hung one on Virginia and got back a whole lot more than revenge - depending on how things play out this weekend when North Carolina State faces Florida State in another key ACC game.

"Last year's loss drove us to the point where we knew that we had to win," Maryland linebacker Shawne Merriman said. "It was our last home game and we all knew that we had to come together as a team. They beat us last year and we just wanted revenge."

Mission accomplished.

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