COLLEGE PARK -- In one shocking afternoon, nearly three years of promises came true for coach Ron Vanderlinden and the Maryland football team.
Not even Vanderlinden could have envisioned such a domination of a respectable West Virginia team, 33-0, before a festive crowd of 33,159 at Byrd Stadium.
"I was the most surprised guy in Byrd Stadium today that we shut out West Virginia," said Vanderlinden, who went 5-17 in his first two years. "To see all those fans come out on the field at the end of the game is what college football is all about. It's the greatest feeling in the world to win where people aren't spoiled and just want a win of any kind. There is no winning ugly here."
Maryland improved its record to 3-0 for the fourth time since 1980 and recorded its first shutout over West Virginia since a 28-0 win here in 1985. It was also the Terps' largest margin of victory over the Mountaineers in 48 years (54-7 romp in 1951).
The 3,000 or so fans who charged onto the field for a rare celebration were saluting a total team effort that featured junior running back LaMont Jordan charging through the porous Mountaineers, redshirt freshman quarterback Calvin McCall looking more like an All-American than West Virginia's Marc Bulger, junior defensive back Lewis Sanders continuing to make big plays, and sophomore linebacker Aaron Thompson covering the field like a blanket.
Jordan looked a step faster than he had in the first two games of the season, rushing for a career-high 164 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. He bounced back from an early first-quarter fumble and never missed a beat the rest of the afternoon, even though his legs kept cramping.
"Coach Vanderlinden says I'm a 'wear-them down type of runner' and that's what I was doing today," Jordan said. "This win opens the door for us to go down to Georgia Tech and show them what we can do. We are for real. We are not the Maryland of old."
The Terps face No. 12 Georgia Tech on Sept. 30.
McCall used play action to pick apart the West Virginia defense with accurate if not pretty passes and wound up 11-for-19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. His command in the huddle continued to impress players and coaches.
"I saw the tapes of Calvin's high school games," said linebacker Thompson of McCall's career at Dr. Phillips in Orlando, Fla. "And I was totally impressed with how he was always in control of the game. He's my man."
McCall explained his success with play action against the Mountaineers (1-2).
"I knew their defensive backs would bite on play action," he said. It's important for me to show my teammates that I always believe we're going to win when I'm in the game. It's worked so far."
Sanders is the fastest player (4.27 in the 40) on the team, and he used that speed yesterday to make six tackles at cornerback and safety, break up two passes, return a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown, get one of the four interceptions thrown by Bulger and return a kickoff 32 yards.
Sanders' fumble return was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. He said he was rushing over to congratulate Thompson for recovering an errant pitchout by Bulger, when suddenly the ball was in his hands.
"I'm having a lot of fun playing this game now, and what happened today with the fans on the field and all that, just makes it even greater," Sanders said.
As for Thompson, the former Mount St. Joseph standout had a third straight strong performance yesterday, racking up 10 tackles to give him 36 in three games.
The afternoon also included a 62-yard juggling catch by Maryland wide receiver Jermaine Arrington in the second quarter, setting up the Terps' first touchdown of the day by giving them a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line.
Arrington ran a post pattern and came open at about the West Virginia 35 where he first tried to grab the ball. It bounced off his hands into the air and he would juggle it for the next 10 yards before finally pulling it in and getting to the 9, where he was tackled by Jerry Porter.
A 2-yard run by fullback Matt Kalapinski and a 7-yarder by Jordan gave Maryland a 7-0 lead with 10: 23 left in the first half.
Before the intermission, Brian Kopka added two field goals as Maryland opened a 13-0 lead.
It was the Mountaineers' worst shutout loss since a 33-0 drubbing by Penn State in 1976 and their most lopsided defeat since a 41-7 loss to Florida in the 1993 Sugar Bowl.
"We couldn't have beaten anybody today," West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said. "It didn't matter who we played. We just happened to play Maryland."
No one could have predicted the collapse of West Virginia's preseason All-America pick Bulger, who in addition to the four interceptions was guilty of a false start and too much time in the huddle.
"We just tried to throw him off his game," said Sanders. "His passes were coming in there with zip on them, but he wasn't too lucky. Two of the interceptions bounced off the shoulder pads of his receivers and into our hands."
Next for Maryland
Opponent: Georgia Tech
Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta
When: Sept. 30, 8 p.m.
Yesterday: Beat Central Florida, 41-10
Yesterday's victory gave Maryland a 3-0 start and its second shutout, both rare feats during the past 20 seasons.
Terps' 3-0 starts since 1980: Year, Finish, Bowl
1980, 8-4-0 ,Tangerine Bowl
1986, 5-5-1, None
1995, 6-5-0, None
Years with 2 shutouts since 1980: Year, Opponent, Score
1980 , N.C. State, 24-0
Virginia, 31-0, 1989
Western Michigan, 23-0
North Carolina, 38-0, 1999
West Virginia, 33-0