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Excitement lingers after Maryland's season-opening win

New era of Terps football got off to great start with 32-24 win over Miami

By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun

8:39 PM EDT, September 6, 2011

COLLEGE PARK —

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Maryland's glitzy new uniforms generated national buzz, but the team said it showed its true colors with an up-tempo offense that seemed to wear down its opponent and a defense that made stops when it needed them most.

It's only one game into the season, but there was a sense of excitement — almost giddiness — after the Miami game surrounding Maryland's young team, which has only a dozen seniors on the two-deep depth chart.

After transitioning during the offseason to new offensive and defensive systems, players got to test their new schemes for the first time in Monday night's 32-24 victory. Maryland may have struggled in the red zone, but it picked up 28 first downs to 18 for Miami, ran 10 more plays than the Hurricanes and scored two defensive touchdowns. Miami was without eight players who were suspended for receiving impermissible benefits from a former booster.

"I thought offensively we were very efficient," new coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday. "We had one turnover. I thought we moved the ball well between the 20s basically. We spread the ball around to a lot of different receivers."

Edsall said Maryland — which has a bye week before facing West Virginia — must work on kickoff coverage and efficiency in the red zone.

The team lost defensive end Isaiah Ross, who had two tackles Monday night, to an injury. Edsall declined to disclose the nature of the injury but said Ross would undergo surgery and that his status for the rest of the season is uncertain. Ross is a junior who played in all 13 games last season as a backup lineman.

Edsall also said tight end David Stinebaugh (Perry Hall) would undergo surgery and miss the season. Stinebaugh had missed spring practices while recovering from shoulder surgery.

Monday night's win was all the more satisfying for Maryland because it came in prime time on national television. The program is trying to broaden its appeal — a development that would aid ticket sales and recruiting.

"We want to make sure that Maryland is a national brand, and last night was the beginning of that," athletic director Kevin Anderson said.

Much of the national attention was over the new "pride" uniforms featuring the four colors (black, white, red, gold) of the Maryland flag.

"I liked it," said former Maryland linebacker Moise Fokou, now with the Philadelphia Eagles. "If they're not going to be talking about us because of the program, they're going to be talking about us because of the uniforms. We're the Oregon of the East right now."

The game was played before 52,875 — the seventh-largest Byrd Stadium crowd. The excitement generated by the game — not decided until the final minute — and the uniforms provided a storyline to rival the Miami booster scandal.

"The great thing about what happened last night is the focus was on the student-athletes and football and the pageantry and everything that college football is about," Anderson said. "We were glad to have that focus put back on those things."

The Terps got a huge confidence boost when their no-huddle offense took the ball for the first time this season and drove 79 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown.

"We were all talking on the sideline after the first drive when we punched it in, and it was very intense," said Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien.

Moving quickly back to the line after each play, the Terps had 78 snaps to Miami's 68 and gained 499 yards. Maryland receivers Kevin Dorsey (eight receptions) and Quintin McCree (seven receptions) set career highs for catches.

"We trained for [the fast tempo] and we prepared all camp for it," O'Brien said. "I think it wore them down as time went on."

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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