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College Sports

Positive start for Brown, Terps against JMU

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland coach Randy Edsall said he challenged his team to do two things Saturday: To start fast and then to finish strong after building a sizeable first half lead.

To Edsall, his Terps did both.

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Maryland built a 24-0 lead by the end of the first and ended up beating James Madison 52-7 in front of an announced crowd of 45,008 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

Was it perfect? No. And the Terps will face much greater challenges later on. But Saturday was a positive first step and gives Maryland some early momentum heading into a game at South Florida next week.

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"We did a lot of good things today," Edsall said. "Very proud of our team for how they came out and started fast and was able to get out ahead of James Madison, put a little bit more pressure on then and then stayed focused throughout the game."

There were some negatives.

Quarterback C.J. Brown finished just 11 of 24 for 111 yards. Punter Nate Renfro averaged just 34.5 yards per punt, and the Terps lost wide receiver Taivon Jacobs to a knee injury.

But Edsall said he was happy with the majority of what happened.

Brown struggled as a passer, but he had 61 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries and threw a 41-yard touchdown to wide receiver Deon Long midway through the third quarter before exiting the game.

On one of Brown's touchdown runs, Maryland was facing a fourth-and-goal from James Madison's 2-yard line. Two James Madison defenders met Brown in the backfield, but Brown broke free, reversed field and then ran through a crowd before diving in the end zone.

"I thought C.J. really did a lot of great things out there," Edsall said. "If you take a look at those runs that he had and that one on fourth down and how he got that in the end zone, man, I couldn't be more proud of how he conducted himself and how he handled himself.

"Maybe he didn't live up to his expectations and our expectations in terms of completion percentage and missed some things in the passing game. … But I'll tell you what, he's a competitor. He's a warrior, and he's a guy that [went] out there and did a good job."

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The other big positive on offense was the run game.

So much attention nationally has been on the Terps' wide receivers, a group led by Stefon Diggs and Long, but Maryland has three running backs it feels can make plays.

All three did so Saturday.

Junior Brandon Ross had a fumble, but he led the Terps with 86 yards on 16 carries and had a touchdown during which he — like Brown — broke a tackle in the backfield before reversing field and scoring.

Sophomore Wes Brown got in later on as well as in some short-yardage situations and ran for 81 yards on 13 carries in his first action since 2012. Brown also had two catches for 27 yards.

Junior Albert Reid, meanwhile, had 23 yards and a touchdown on five carries and also had 17 yards on two catches.

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In all, Maryland ran for 285 yards and five touchdowns while averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

"[That helps] a lot," Long said. "Obviously that's going to bring people in the box. They're going to be trying to stop the run. They're going to send blitzes at us, and we can capitalize off that."

The Terps' defense did good things as well.

Maryland limited quarterback Vad Lee, a Georgia Tech transfer, to just 16 of 37 passing for 141 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Terps also held the Dukes to just 3.7 yards per carry.

James Madison did not get its first points until 10:56 was left in the fourth quarter and Maryland was already leading 45-0.

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By that point, the Dukes were facing the Terps' second-team defense.

"This felt great," said Maryland cornerback Jeremiah Johnson, who had one of the Terps' two interceptions. "This was what we set as our first goal, obviously to come out and get a win. And to do it in this fashion is definitely encouraging, so we can use this same momentum and positive energy to go into South Florida next week."


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