Terps Pound the Bears 35-27
Tight end Dan Gronkowski #13 of the Terrapins catches a pass for a touchdown during an NCAA game at Chevy Chase Bank Field in College Park, MD on September 13, 2008. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- In the most aggressive game played this season the Maryland Terrapins showed their strength on the line and held the visiting No. 23 California Bears touchdownless for 3 quarters in a win that will be highlighted for years. California, just one week out from a 66-3 win over Washington State, was shell-shocked by the explosive Maryland offense and the stifling defense. The combination of sweltering heat and humidity, along with an early game time for a west coast team, posed too much of a challenge to the Pac-10 team and the Bears were unable to mount a comeback.

On Friday evening Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen posed the question to his players: "Who in this room has ever been told he is not good enough?" Choking back his emotions in the post-game press conference, Friedgen raised his hand and said that one by one other players joined in. "How does that make you feel?" he then asked. "It makes me feel mad. What are you going to do about it? That's what people are saying about us. You have a chance tomorrow on national TV to show them who you are." said Friedgen. He then challenged the team to "go after these guys as soon as they got off the bus."

The team responded.

The Terrapin defensive line was unstoppable and highlighted by a jaw-dropper of a hit by cornerback Kevin Barnes on running back Jahvid Best. In the second quarter Kevin Riley stepped back to pass and threw left to Best. Barnes read the play perfectly and steamrolled into Best, knocking the 5'10" 193 lb wideout to his knees. Best then vomited on the field and was taken out for the remainder of the second quarter. "It was the hardest hit I have ever taken in my life. I had a little trouble breathing the rest of the game." Best returned in the second half but was noticeably different in his play.

Maryland's offense was equally aggressive and Turner was sharp on his passes. On the opening drive the Terps put 7 points on the board in under 2 minutes using 2 passes to Gronkowski and Watson for 9 and 7 yards respectively. Da'Rell Scott rushed for 6 and 14 yards before a 24 yard touchdown. In 5 plays and with 11:03 remaining in the first half Maryland took the lead.

Cal took over off Egekeze's kickoff but an errant pass by Kevin Riley was picked off by Kevin Barnes at the Cal 31 yard line. Barnes ran it back to the 14 yard line where Turner then employed Scott and Darius Heyward-Bey for rushes to the endzone. With 8:41 remaining in the first half it appeared as though Cal had not showed up for the game, with the Terps taking a commanding 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff Jahvid Best raced back 54 yards and made it up to the Terrapin 39 yard line before being knocked out of bounds by defensive back Richard Taylor. With the Bears in striking distance the Terrapin defense stepped up and held Cal at the 10 yard line and forced them to accept a field goal.

The Terps took over and tacked on an additional touchdown on a drive that lasted 14 plays and carried the Terps 60 yards from their own 40 over the course of 5 minutes.

On their way to the fourth quarter Maryland continued to lock up California and hold them to 2 field goals over 3 quarters. Their drive waned in the fourth as Riley threw for 239 yards in the final 15 minutes and recorded 3 touchdowns. Maryland was successful in fielding the 3 resulting onside kicks, a fact Head Coach Friedgen was proud of in the post game press-conference.

Maryland tacked on an additional touchdown off the first onside kick but a 27 yard attempt by Egekeze on the second onside kick flew wide left and raised questions about Egekeze's spot as the field goal kicker. "I'm going to open it up to competition" remarked Friedgen after the game.

The Terps now shift their focus to Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan. Kickoff is at 1pm at Byrd Stadium.