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Terps prey on Owls

October 09, 2005|By ROB MAADDI

PHILADELPHIA

A few days off were enough motivation for Maryland.

Mario Merrills ran for three touchdowns, leading the Terrapins to a 38-7 victory over winless Temple on Saturday.

Sam Hollenbach passed for 228 yards and ran for a score as Maryland (4-2) overcame a sluggish start and handed Temple (0-6) its fifth loss of more than 25 points.

Umar Ferguson scored Temple's only TD.

The Terrapins' next game against Virginia Tech isn't until Oct. 20, so coach Ralph Friedgen made sure that his players had plenty of incentive to bounce back after a lackluster first half.

"I told them if you don't start playing better, you won't get a week off. You'll be practicing Monday and Tuesday," Friedgen said.

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The Owls, who will join the Mid-American Conference for the 2007 season, haven't made a positive impression on their new league. Temple has been outscored 297-63 in its first season since being kicked out of the Big East.

It won't get easier for the Owls, who host No. 9 Miami next week.

"We came out and challenged them in the first half," Temple coach Bobby Wallace said. "We were physical on both sides of the ball. We just came up short. We're playing with limited people. They gave their hearts out. That's all I can ask."

Maryland hardly started out like the same team that beat then-No. 19 Virginia 45-33 last week. The Terrapins trailed 7-3 after the first quarter, turned the ball over on downs once, lost one fumble, and had an interception in the end zone one play after a touchdown was nullified by a holding penalty.

But Maryland ran off 35 straight points, starting with Merrills' 6-yard TD run in the second quarter. Merrills scored from the 1 to make it 17-7 right before halftime, and ran in from the 2 on the Terrapins' first possession in the third quarter for a 24-7 lead.

"We had to pick up our intensity in the second half," Terrapins safety Milton Harris said. "We were in a fog in the first half. We just had to go out and compete better. We need to come out from the start and play with that level of intensity."

Hollenbach scored on a quarterback sneak to put Maryland ahead 31-7. Merrills, seeking his fourth TD run, was stopped at the 1 for no gain on the previous play.

Bruce Perry, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad, was the last Maryland player to run for three TDs, doing it against Wake Forest in November 2003.

Maryland's Dan Ennis missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt in the third quarter, snapping his string of 11 straight successful kicks.

After Antwon Burton recovered a fumble by wideout Danny Melendez at Maryland's 38, Owls quarterback Mike McGann needed eight plays to lead Temple into the end zone. Ferguson's score came two plays after McGann connected with Jamel Harris on a 23-yard pass and a roughing-the-passer penalty put the ball at the 6.

"He chewed us up and spit us out," Melendez said of Friedgen's halftime speech. "He told us that we have to have a killer mentality."

An announced crowd of 11,311 included about 10,000 or so no-shows, leaving more than 65,000 empty seats on a rainy day at Lincoln Financial Field - home of the defending NFC champion Eagles.

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