COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland is prospering on the football field and at the ticket office.
The Terps are off to their best start in nine years, and the 48,055 who watched them beat West Virginia last night was the biggest crowd at Byrd Stadium since Nov. 29, 1985, when 48,950 watched Maryland beat Virginia.
Maryland drew 32,215 for its home opener, an upset of North Carolina that heightened interest in coach Mark Duffner's team. A conservative estimate had Maryland making an additional $200,000 at the gate compared to its take from the North Carolina game.
West Virginia is Maryland's only permanent nonconference rival. Temple coach Ron Dickerson said last week that his Owls will come to Byrd Stadium in 1997, when West Virginia makes its next visit to College Park. The Terps go to West Virginia next year, and will play Northern Illinois and Alabama-Birmingham at home.
Special day for Ungerer
Sophomore superback Buddy Rodgers had his second 100-yard game of the season and the Terps won the special teams segment of the game, but running backs/special teams coach Dave Ungerer was joyful before he ever got to Byrd Stadium. Yesterday his wife, Sylvia, gave birth to their second son.
"We're awarding the game ball to the newest Terp, Dave Ungerer III," Duffner said.
Rodgers' 54-yard touchdown run, which put Maryland ahead for good, was the longest touchdown run by a Terp since 1991, when Mark Mason went 71 yards against Syracuse.
He was the bright light for the offense, as Brian Cummings' efficiency rating took a pounding in the rain. He completed 13 of 26 for 130 yards, and threw two interceptions in the second quarter, ending Maryland's string of turnover-free ball at nine quarters.
Linebacker Ratcliff Thomas had a team-high seven tackles to go with his two fumble recoveries. . . . Chad Johnston had thrown for 500 yards in West Virginia's first two games, but completed only 11 of 29 for 128 yards and one touchdown, while being intercepted three times, sacked three times and losing two fumbles.
NEXT FOR MARYLAND
Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
, Yesterday: Beat Army, 23-21.