The first four years of Dave Stinebaugh's career at Maryland were plagued by injuries and inactivity. The former Perry Hall standout seemed to spend more time in the training room than on the field, and went long stretches without any catches.
Stinebaugh missed seven games as a redshirt freshman, in 2010, with knee and shoulder injuries. He sat out the entire 2011 season after shoulder surgery, one of three operations on what he now calls his “robot” right shoulder. After making four catches as a freshman, he had none last season, his junioryear.
If the first three games of 2013 indicated that Stinebaugh was at last healthy and more a part of the offense, Saturday's 37-0 victory against West Virginia at M&T Stadium proved to be a highlight for the 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior tight end from Baltimore.
Stinebaugh, who came into the game with six receptions for 73 yards, had only one catch against the Mountaineers. But it turned out to be the first touchdown catch of his college career, and it gave the Terps an early lead.
“It's definitely worth the struggles that I faced over those two or three years of being injured,” Stinebaugh said. “This all came full [circle] and definitely showed it was worth the struggle and the fight and the hard work I put in.”
That the catch came not far from Stinebaugh's home and in front of many family members and friends made it all the more memorable.
“It's definitely special, especially since I'm from Baltimore,” Stinebaugh said after the game. “Playing in M&T added that much more to it. I'm just glad I was able to make the catch and get in there for the first time.
Hendy's busy day
The blowout started, in part, with defensive back A.J. Hendy. His fumble recovery of a muffed punt return deep inside Mountaineers territory led to Stinebaugh's touchdown and a 7-0 Terps lead. A few minutes later in the first quarter, Hendy intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
“It's a good feeling, putting points on the board. That's how you win games,” said Hendy, who returned his only other interception at Maryland for a touchdown in a loss at North Carolina State in 2011.
With West Virginia facing a third-and-12 from its own 23, Hendy muscled West Virginia freshman wide receiver Daikiel Shorts off the ball on a sideline route. It was one of six turnovers for the Mountaineers, and one of two interceptions thrown by redshirt freshman quarterback Ford Childress.
“I've seen the route on film, we repped it in practice,” Hendy said. “I didn't expect the quarterback to throw the ball, but he did.”
The 6-foot, 205-pound junior from Bowie finished his day with a fumble recovery later in the game to help preserve Maryland's first shutout since 2008.
More consistent Craddock
As a freshman, Australian kicker Brad Craddock showed he had a strong leg. The issues he had were mostly from short range: He missed a 33-yard field goal with time winding down against N.C. State that kept the Terps from a 5-2 start last season.
Craddock's consistent sophomore season continued Saturday in Baltimore. Coming into the game having made seven of his eight field-goal attempts, including three of four in last week's 32-21 win at Connecticut, Craddock made all three of his tries against West Virginia.
The most impressive was a career-long 50-yarder — a distance from which he had missed badly last week against the Huskies — that had no trouble clearing the crossbar. He also had field goals of 36 and 30 yards while making all four of his extra points.
“Brad is getting a lot better,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said after the game. “I like Brad's approach. You can see it's a lot more focused, a lot more confident in what he's doing.”
Craddock said former Ravens kicker Matt Stover has helped him recently. The two have been working together since February.
“I talked to Matt twice this week, actually, so I got to talk last night and I talked to him about the wind and everything, and how the stadium went,” Craddock said. “I've been really blessed to have him around to give me a hand.”
The advice Stover had for him about M&T Bank Stadium was unique, Craddock said.
“Just whatever the flags are doing, it's pretty much the opposite on the field,” he said. “It was different from any stadium I've kicked in before.”
Craddock said Saturday marked his first time kicking in rain during a live game. His performance also came in front of his parents, who arrived Thursday for the start of a six-week holiday.
“They got a bit wet,” Craddock said. “I think I saw [Mom] with hair all over her face. At least they stuck around.”
Doug Vaughn proudly wore his red No. 1 Maryland jersey to Saturday's game. Vaughn, who grew up in Emmitsburg and has rooted for the Terps since Bobby Ross coached at the school in the 1980s, was the only one on a bus filled with West Virginia fans coming down from Martinsburg.
“I was like a wolf in sheep's clothing,” said Vaughn, who joined his brother-in-law, Fred Hollida, for the trip down.
Or at least like the red-and-black sheep in his family. Vaughn said there are other Maryland fans in the development where he lives in Spring Mills, W.Va. Hollida, who graduated from West Virginia and lives in Martinsburg, said of Vaughn's bus ride: “It wasn't that bad.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun