Terps Cough Up Football, Game to Virginia - NBC4 Washington

Terps Cough Up Football, Game to Virginia

Cavs beat error-prone Maryland 20-9



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    The ball is just dying to get loose.

    COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Even in lovely weather, Maryland has had trouble holding onto the football.

    The problem became more pronounced in a steady rain, and Virginia took full advantage of four turnovers Saturday in a 20-9 victory.

    Defensive end Nate Collins scored on a 32-yard interception return, helping the Cavaliers roll to their third straight win. Virginia (3-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 9-3 late in the third quarter before scoring 10 points in a 19-second span.

    After Robert Randolph kicked a 31-yard field goal, linebacker Darren Childs deflected a pass by Maryland quarterback Chris Turner. The 290-pound Collins latched onto the ball, broke to his left and took it down the sideline into the end zone.

    "My last touchdown I was a senior in high school, running the ball," said Collins, a senior. "That just landed in my lap."

    Maryland's Nick Ferrara missed field goal tries of 44 and 37 yards in the fourth quarter. Then, after Turner threw an incomplete on a fourth-and-17 from the Maryland 2, Rashawn Jackson scored for Virginia with 1:43 left.

    The Terrapins (2-5, 1-2) fumbled four times, losing two, and Turner was intercepted twice.

    "Until we stop turning the ball over, we can work 24 hours a day, we're just giving games away," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I don't think these teams that are winning are better than us. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot. Until that gets corrected, it's not going to happen."

    Virginia played the fourth quarter without quarterback Jameel Sewell, who left with a sprained right ankle. The Cavaliers finished with 63 yards rushing, the first time in 16 games since 1957 that Virginia beat Maryland when rushing for fewer than 100 yards.

    But the defense was outstanding. Not only did the Cavaliers hold Turner to 16-for-38 passing, but they took advantage of a team that was prone to giving up the ball.

    "We went into the game with a big emphasis on that, even had the sun been shining," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "We did emphasize that perhaps the elements might increase our opportunities to do so. The guys were on it."

    After Ferrara kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 9-3 with 6:08 left in the third quarter, a fluky reception by Virginia's Kris Burd set up Randolph's second field goal. Burd was on his back near the sideline when Antoine Perez dropped a potential interception, and the ball landed on Burd's chest for a 28-yard gain on a third-and-8.

    Then Collins gave the Cavaliers the lead for good. It was the third interception returned for a touchdown against Maryland this season.

    "I tried to get it over the defensive lineman, and it was tipped up right into the guy's arms," Turner said. "Nine times out of 10 that won't happen, but it did today."

    The Terrapins finished with a minus-3 turnover differential and are minus-13 for the season.

    "With the turnovers, I would have to say the weather was definitely a factor. The balls were pretty slick," Turner said. "It's frustrating."

    Maryland led 6-3 at halftime after holding the Cavaliers to 12 yards on 15 plays in the second quarter.

    The Terrapins' first drive ended with a fumble by Davin Meggett at the Virginia 24, setting the tone for the afternoon.

    "When you turn the ball over, you're just giving it away," receiver Adrian Cannon said. "That's one thing we can't do: Beat ourselves."

    On their second possession, the Cavaliers had a first-and-goal at the Maryland 1 but had to settle for a 32-yard field goal. The Terrapins tied it when linebacker Adrian Moten forced a fumble by Sewell at the Virginia 33 and Ferrara followed with a 48-yard field goal.

    An attempted rugby punt by the Cavaliers' Jimmy Howell went for minus-3 yards and went out of bounds at the Virginia 40, setting up a 30-yard field goal.