COLLEGE PARK - On a night when a crowd of 46,950 came to celebrate the beginning of LaMont Jordan's Heisman Trophy run, a slender walk-on sophomore punter by the name of Brooks Barnard stole the show by booming punts of 85 and 66 yards and finishing the night with a school-record average of 53.8 yards.
Barnard, one of the hardest workers on the Maryland team, put Temple in bad field position all evening and enabled the Terps to stumble past the Owls, 17-10, in a festive season opener featuring band and youth league football night.
Barnard, who prepped at Broadneck High, loved every minute of his big night.
"It was a great way to start the season," he said. "It didn't really surprise me the way I kicked because I've done it a lot in practice."
"Brooks Barnard was huge tonight," Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "Man, did he give us good field position when we were backed up? All day long, he put our defense in good situations."
Temple coach Bobby Wallace was also impressed.
"I've seen a lot of outstanding kickers in my time but Barnard kicked as well as any of them tonight," he said. "He killed us."
Temple was led by former Meade running back Tanardo Sharps, who rushed for 80 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries. The 5-9, 174-pound sophomore scored the only Temple touchdown on a 10-yard run in the third quarter.
Jordan didn't play in the first series after missing all of spring practice and 14 preseason workouts due to academic difficulties. He did, however, walk into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and bulled 7 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. He wound up with 62 yards on 22 carries.
"There was pressure to get off to a fast start and it just didn't happen," Jordan said. "I missed some assignments on some promising runs and that didn't make me happy. But we did get a win."
Temple quarterback Devin Scott even took a shot at Jordan's performance.
"He is supposed to be a Heisman Trophy candidate but we whipped his tail," Scott said.
Vanderlinden, though, had kind words for his running back.
"I did think on three critical plays that he was sensational," Vanderlinden said. "On two goal-line plays, he was untackleable. He just smashed his way into the end zone and there aren't many backs who can do that."
At times, Jordan seemed to be a little slower than he was last season when he rolled up 1,101 yards in the last six games of the season. He didn't seem to cut back and forth across the field as he did against Virginia last November when he ran for 306 yards.
But Jordan is traditionally a slow starter, and he didn't get a lot of help from a Maryland offense that struggled under two quarterbacks - starter Shaun Hill and Calvin McCall, who was supposed to start.
"Calvin violated a team rule, so he was penalized a start," Vanderlinden said.
Hill, a junior college transfer, was 7 for 13 passing before going to the bench with a sprained right shoulder near the end of the first half. He rushed for 38 yards on six carries on the option.
"I tried the arm out on the sideline but it didn't seem right so I stayed out of the game," Hill said.
That left McCall in charge of the offense in the second half. He led the team on a 74-yard, 5-play scoring drive in the third quarter, a drive that pushed the Terps ahead, 14-3. He finished the game 4 of 10 passing for 92 yards, including a 51-yarder to Scooter Monroe that set up the third-quarter touchdown.
"That catch by Scooter was just what we've been expecting him to do," Vanderlinden said. "It was an exceptional play."
But the Terps might not have survived last night without some outstanding defensive play from inside linebacker E.J. Henderson, who made 12 tackles, and a crucial fourth-quarter interception by Shawn Forte, who returned it 45 yards to the Temple 30 with 3:17 left in the game.
Outside linebacker Aaron Thompson also made a lot of big stops (nine tackles) for Maryland and newly named inside linebacker Marlon Moye Moore had nine tackles.
"I was impressed with our defense, particularly our pass rush," Vanderlinden said. "Kris Jenkins [DT] came to play today and Michael Whaley was strong as the rush linebacker. Charles Hill played hard and played himself to exhaustion. It was hot out there."
Next for Maryland
Opponent: West Virginia
Site: Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, W.Va.