Cavaliers Carve Up The Terps With 31-0 Shutout
#37 Cedric Peerman scores on a 9 yard run while blocking #29 Jeff Allen during Maryland's 31-0 loss to Virginia at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville VA on October 4, 2008. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The halftime score of the Maryland vs. Virginia football game was exactly what everyone expected it would be – 21-0 – except that the numbers were displayed under the wrong team names.  Everyone, from fans to media to some members of the Virginia staff themselves, thought the Terrapins were going to come in to town and destroy the Cavaliers.  The Cavs were the team that dropped 45 points to USC, 35 to Connecticut, and allowed lowly Duke to beat them by 28 points.  Maryland, on the other hand, with the exception of what might have been thought a fluke loss against Middle Tennessee, has beaten two ranked teams, including visiting California and Clemson at home.  They put up 51 points on Eastern Michigan.  Yet, they came in here, and for one half of play, did absolutely nothing and had nothing to show for it.
We don’t know what head coach Ralph Friedgen told the troops at halftime.  It most certainly was not good job, team; keep up the good work.  The 21 point halftime lead was not insurmountable.  Maryland has scored more in a half this year already.  So, they just needed to come out, maybe get one or two scores in the third quarter, one or two more in the fourth, play solid defense, and the game would be theirs.

Inexplicably, however, they came out of the locker rooms as if they hadn’t even been spoken too.  The lethargic offense was still there.  The porous defense was there, front and center.  The mistakes, miscues, and momentum busters were all present and accounted for.  The team put up exactly the same number of points as the first half – nil.  They allowed an additional 10 points on what was largely a clock-exhausting ride-out-the-win strategy by the Cavaliers.

The second half started ignominiously – the weirdest onside kick attempt ever seen.  The Terps had an extra 15 yards to work with, courtesy of an unsportsmanlike penalty on the part of the Cavs that had marked the end of the first half.  On the second half kickoff, Terrapin kicker Obi Egekeze bibbled the ball off the tee for a total of about three yards and then fumbled around in confusion wondering what to do with it next.  The crowd was aghast.  The Cavs fans were ecstatic, but even they were at a loss to explain what had just happened.  While this must not have been the intent, it simply looked like Maryland giving the ball to Virginia with great field position.

Everything else that could go wrong in the second half did as well.  Virginia converted on fourth downs twice, while Maryland lost the ball on downs both times they tried.  The Cavs completed passes while the Terps couldn’t seem to get their receivers and quarterbacks on the same page.   Finally, and most importantly, the Cavaliers put points on the scoreboard.  Their defense prevented Maryland from doing any of the same.  Maryland’s defense played a little better in the second half, but perhaps their most notable achievement was keeping Virginia to a field goal on their first possession rather than a touchdown.

The statistics bear out the score of the game reasonably well.  The Terrapins matched the Cavs in passing yards (around 230), but the Cavs scored twice in the air.  The Terps netted only 79 rushing yards, compared to 201 for Virginia.  Maryland lost the ball on a fumble and on an interception; Virginia committed no turnovers.  The list could go on, but the point has probably been made.

Maryland will hope to regain their winning ways on October 18 with Wake Forest at home.  In the meantime, they have a bye week, and given the manner in which they lost today, one can only imagine what those practices will be like.  Virginia faces East Carolina next, at home, in one week’s time.