After Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen called a pass play on third-and-one in Saturday night's game against Boston College, players marched to the sideline and grumbled about a call that didn't work. The Terrapins settled for a field goal, and the man in charge got an earful.
"I thought it was third-and-two," Friedgen said yesterday during his conference call with reporters. "[The Eagles] were in the defense I wanted. We just didn't do a very good job of executing the play. Then I call time out and the kids are [whining]. I said, 'You sound like the crowd. You want to boo me, too?' They started laughing. They wanted to run the ball. I said: 'You're probably right. You're second-guessers, too.'"
There wasn't much else about the game that earned poor review s from the Terps.
An offense that has been stuck in neutral produced its highest point total of the season. Quarterback Chris Turner, making only his fifth career start, heeded his coach's advice from earlier in the week and ran the offense with precision. And a 42-35 upset of then-No. 8 Boston College at Byrd Stadium brought Maryland (5-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) within one victory of bowl eligibility.
"I think there's times we've been pretty good, but we haven't been able to sustain it," said Friedgen, whose team had lost three in a row. "Looking at the game, we made more plays than they made. ... I'm pretty proud of them."
Just dragging their battered bodies onto the field warrants high praise. Starting left tackle Scott Burley persevered through three quarters before his ankle injury became too severe. His replacement, freshman Bruce Campbell, didn't last long because of a similar ailment. And linebacker Erin Henderson keeps playing despite being unable to practice the past two weeks because of back pain.
"I got more out of Burley than I thought I ever would," Friedgen said. "They have him on crutches and in a boot today, and we might have to do same thing with him this week."
Henderson is being treated by physical and massage therapists, and his status for Saturday's game at Florida State is uncertain. But if the past two weeks are any indication, he'll find a way to join the starting unit.
"Henderson's in pretty bad shape," Friedgen said. "You could see at times when he dropped into coverage that he was having trouble covering. In the past, I wouldn't even play a guy like that, but I've got nobody else."
The Terps were missing running back Keon Lattimore (hamstring) and wide receiver Danny Oquendo (knee), but they built a 42-21 lead early in the fourth quarter. And they held on as Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Ryan tried to rally the Eagles.
"During the third quarter, the way that we played and the energy we had, we knew that we could do something big," senior tight end Jason Goode said. "Truth be told, we felt that in the beginning of the game, but once we started playing and our energy started flowing, we knew we really had it going."
Goode, a Woodlawn graduate, matched his season total with six receptions and scored two touchdowns. Senior running back Lance Ball registered his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, and it came against a defense that hadn't allowed a back to reach that mark this year.
Running back Da'Rel Scott, who hadn't been involved in an offensive play since the Sept. 29 game against Rutgers, scored on a 57-yard reception in the third quarter to increase Maryland's lead to 34-21.
Turner finished 21-for-27 for 337 yards and three touchdowns.
The end result allowed the Terps to forget about the previous weekend's embarrassing loss to North Carolina that seemingly knocked them out of the bowl picture.
"What was encouraging was some of the kids who didn't play their best last week played very good [Saturday] night," Friedgen said. " ... The thing that was rewarding or great to see was we played a very good game with some real adversity with our injuries and whatnot. We kind of overcame that by playing better. ... We still have two very tough games left in very tough places to play."
The first stop is Florida State (6-4, 3-4), followed by a trip to North Carolina State. Maryland must win at least one of those games to be eligible to extend its season. "We're 5-5," Friedgen said, "and there are a lot of teams in our boat."
At least the waters became a little smoother Saturday night.
Note -- Friedgen is hoping that Lattimore and junior tight end Dan Gronkowski (knee) will play against Florida State, but he's not as optimistic about right guard Andrew Crummey (broken fibula).
MARYLAND REWIND Replay
Maryland linebacker Erin Henderson, who hadn't practiced all week and could barely walk after the game, finished with 13 tackles, and the Terps' pass rush might have been at its best all season, as Heisman candidate Matt Ryan was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.
Maryland was without senior running back Keon Lattimore (hamstring), its leading rusher, and lost wide receiver Danny Oquendo for the season with a knee injury.
The Terps will travel to Florida State this weekend in search of their sixth win and bowl eligibility. The Seminoles (6-4, 3-4) lost, 40-21, to then-No. 11 Virginia Tech.
HEATHER A. DINICH