Maryland's Offense Breaks Out Of Its Shell
by Mike Mitchell
December 30, 2008
Maryland scored a season-high 42 points - and needed it - to turn back Nevada 42-35 in the Humanitarian Bowl at Boise, Idaho.
Playing on Boise State's blue "smurf turf" field, the Terrapins' Da’Rel Scott ran 14 times for 174 yards and two crucial touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Scott was held out for the first 2-1/2 quarters to serve as punishment for being one of seven players, including four starters, who broke curfew during the bowl trip. Once he entered the game, he broke the Nevada defense.
Scott's first two carries went for 14 and 11 yards, and his eighth produced a 49-yard touchdown that put the Terps ahead 35-28. When Maryland got the ball for its next possession, Scott carried all four plays of a 66-yard drive to give his team a 42-28 lead with 7:44 left in the contest. The score came on a 2-yard effort after previous carries of 11, 23 and 30 yards. From the time of his first carry at the 5:55 mark of the 3rd quarter to the time of his second TD at the 7:44 mark of the final quarter (13:11), Scott, carried 12 times for 153 yards and two scores.
Nevada had the lead twice in the first quarter, 7-6 and 14-13. And after falling behind 28-14, the Wolf Pack rallied with the help of a pair of turnovers by QB Chris Turner. An interception led to Vai Taua's 17-yard TD catch in the 3rd quarter. On the next possession, Turner's backward pass under heavy pressure was, by rule, a fumble that led to Colin Kaepernick's 21-yard TD pass to Marko Mitchell.
That's when Scott's true antics began. he carried three times on the ensuing Maryland possession for 77 yards and the TD that gave his team a lead that it would never relinquish. His four carries and touchdown on the next drive put the game away.
Entering the game, the Nevada defense ranked 3rd nationally against the run.
Kaepernick did all he could to give Nevada a chance to win. While playing on a gimpy leg that he injured late in the second quarter, he threw two TD passes and ran for another score after throwing 1 TD pass in the first half. Kaepernick finished with 370 yards on 24-of-47 passing.
Taua ran for 102 yards and a TD on 23 carries to go with his lone reception for a the 17-yard TD. Mike McCoy had 171 yards on 13 catches, and Mitchell had 5 grabs for 130.
Maryland QB Turner finished 13-of-27 passes for 197 yards and a pair of TD passes to go with the costly interception and fumble.
Maryland improved to 10-11-2 overall in bowl games, and 4-2 under Ralph Friedgen. The Terps finished the year with an 8-5 record.
Nevada slid to 3-6 in bowl games and finished the season 7-6.