Scott narrows in on greatness

The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK - On the wall of Da'Rel Scott's dorm room hang printouts of rushing statistics.

They're not his stats, but rather those of Maryland record holders - the standard bearers.

Scott, a redshirt sophomore, began displaying the numbers at the beginning of the season so he would have something concrete to aim for.

With one regular-season game today and one bowl game remaining, Scott is within reach of one of the loftiest benchmarks. "I really wanted to be a 1,000-yard rusher," he said.

He needs 60 yards against No. 20 Boston College today to attain his goal of becoming Maryland's first 1,000-yard rusher since Chris Downs (1,154) in 2002.

For Scott, the numbers pursuit is bittersweet. The running back's season has been marked by periodic brilliance but also by fumbles and injury. And the Terps fell short of their biggest goal of all, a spot in next weekend's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

As a result of their 37-3 loss to Florida State last week, Scott and his Maryland teammates are playing today to position themselves for a desirable bowl game. They're also playing for their reputations and legacies.

Said Scott: "I want to leave here with a name so people can remember me in a positive way."

Scott, from the Philadelphia area, has had dazzling moments. He opened the season with 197 yards against Delaware and followed with 123 yards in a loss to Middle Tennessee State.

But his left shoulder was slammed to the turf in a win over California in Maryland's third game, and he wasn't the same for several weeks.

Scott sat out the next week against Eastern Michigan, then netted just 39 yards against Clemson and 36 against Virginia. He seemed to regain his form in the weeks after that but fumbled three times against Wake Forest and twice against Florida State.

Scott declined to cite his lingering injury - he wears specially fitted shoulder pads - as an excuse. Against Florida State, he was stripped churning for extra yardage, and the Seminoles returned the ball 22 yards for a touchdown. "It was the last home game, and I just really wanted the seniors to go out on the right note," he said.

Scott ran for 82 yards against the Seminoles - 41 of them on a single third-quarter play - but Maryland's offensive line allowed quarterback Chris Turner to be sacked six times.

"Yeah, that was the worst," Turner said of the Florida State defeat, Maryland's fourth of the season. "I think it was the lowest."

Offensive coordinator James Franklin said the line wasn't as bad as fans might think.

"Our offensive line took a lot of heat, [but] before the game got out of hand we were protecting very, very well," Franklin said.

The Terps moved the ball well on their first few possessions but could not score.

The line will be tested today against a Boston College unit that leads the conference in rushing defense and total defense.

terps today

Matchup: Maryland (7-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) at No. 20 Boston College (8-3, 4-3)

Time: 3:30 p.m

Site: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

TV: Chs. 2, 7

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM.

Series: Boston College leads 3-2.

Last meeting: Maryland won, 42-35, on Nov. 10, 2007, in College Park.

Maryland offense vs. Boston College defense: Boston College can clinch a spot in the ACC title game with a win. The Eagles are particularly strong against the run, meaning the Terps will likely look to their short passing game. Boston College uses a different defensive approach than did Florida State last week. "Florida State plays all man, and Boston College plays all zone," said Maryland QB Chris Turner, who threw two interceptions against the Seminoles.

Maryland defense vs. Boston College offense: Redshirt freshman Dominique Davis is expected to step in for injured QB Chris Crane for Boston College. Davis got only spot duty until subbing for Crane against Wake Forest last week. True freshman Montel Harris leads the Eagles with 682 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Prediction: Boston College 23, Maryland 14

MARYLAND (7-4, 4-3) @No. 20 BC (8-3, 4-3)

Time: Today, 3:30 p.m.

TV: Chs. 2, 7

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

Line: BC by 6 1/2

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