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WVU runs over Terps

September 18, 2005

COLLEGE PARK, Md.

Rich Rodriguez and his football team had just finished saluting the West Virginia fans after an uplifting road victory, and as the coach began to congratulate his players, he spotted quarterback Pat White.

Rodriguez gave White a hug and said, "Way to come in."

White directed three fourth-quarter touchdown drives after replacing an injured Adam Bednarik, and the Mountaineers ripped Maryland's defense for 301 yards rushing in a 31-19 victory Saturday.

Freshman Jason Gwaltney scored two touchdowns for the Mountaineers (3-0), who had lost three straight at Maryland (1-2) since 1997. West Virginia let a 15-point lead dwindle to 21-19 before Gwaltney scored on a 15-yard run with 4:56 left.

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The Mountaineers then recovered a fumble by Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach, and Pat McAfee kicked a 40-yard field goal to make it 31-19 with 2:18 remaining.

White went 3-for-5 for 29 yards, but he ran for 62 yards on nine carries and guided an offense that amassed 24 points and 144 yards in the final 15 minutes.

"Pat, when he goes in there it's like he's been there the whole time," Rodriguez said. "He managed the game well, made a couple of big plays."

White, a redshirt freshman, entered in the third quarter after Bednarik was shaken up on a 5-yard run with the Mountaineers up 7-6. With White leading the way, West Virginia scored on its next four possessions.

"I felt good. I knew that I was going to have to come in and step up," he said.

"I was just trying to set up my teammates. I handed the ball off and they did what they had to do."

Rodriguez said Bednarik could have returned, but there was really no reason to risk it.

"Adam got a little bit of a stinger," Rodriguez said. "He could have come back if we wanted, but Pat was on a little bit of a roll. You don't want to take a chance if you don't have to."

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen expected better from his team, which was coming off a 28-24 loss to Clemson.

"We didn't play with the enthusiasm that I'd hope we'd play with," he said. "I don't know what the reason is; I've got to take responsibility for that."

Friedgen was particularly disturbed over the play of his defense, which couldn't come up with a key stop at any point in the fourth quarter.

"We have never played this poorly on defense in the time I've been here," said Friedgen, who came to Maryland in 2001. "We aren't doing the job up front. We can't get off blocks and make tackles. That is the biggest thing, obviously."

Penalties hurt, too. Soon after White entered, West Virginia was forced to punt. But the drive received new life when Maryland's Conrad Bolston was offside on the kick.

The Mountaineers then covered the final 53 yards to go up 14-6. Darius Reynaud gained 27 yards on a reverse, and Owen Schmitt capped the march with a 3-yard TD run with 14:52 remaining.

Schmitt had runs of 20 and 34 yards on the Mountaineers' next series, and Pernell Williams scored from the 1 to make it 21-6.

The lead held up - barely.

The Terrapins began their comeback with a 73-yard touchdown throw from Hollenbach to tight end Vernon Davis with 10:22 left. Davis caught the medium-length pass at the right sideline and easily outran the Mountaineers to the end zone.

Antonio Lewis fumbled away the kickoff, and Hollenbach converted the mistake into a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jo Jo Walker. But the conversion pass failed.

Hollenbach went 20-for-31 for 291 yards. Davis caught five passes for 158 yards, but the Terrapins could muster only 50 yards rushing against a defense that entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in yards allowed (128.5).

"I knew this would be a very tough team to run it against because they overload against the run in every situation, every formation," Friedgen said. "That's why they are one of the better defenses, if not the best defense, in the country statistically."

And Maryland's defense?

"We just couldn't win the battle up front," said linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who had 15 tackles. "They just ran the ball down our throats today."

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