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Terps

West Virginia hits 47-yard field goal as time expires to hand Maryland first loss, 40-37

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland erased a 22-point first-half deficit, later tied the game with a 69-yard punt return from cornerback Will Likely and had two opportunities in the closing minutes to score potentially decisive points Saturday.

But in the end, West Virginia's players stormed the field at Byrd Stadium and celebrated on their way back to the visiting locker room while Maryland defenders like Andre Monroe and Alex Twine sat on the field dejected about a game that got away.

The Terrapins did some good things. They put up 447 yards of total offense, came up with four turnovers on defense and got the punt return from Likely that tied the game with 9:43 remaining.

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However, Maryland's offense went three-and-out on its final two drives, and West Virginia kicker Josh Lambert hit a 47-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Mountaineers to a 40-37 win.

"It hurts," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "Nobody likes it. But what we've got to do in that situation the next time is come up and make one or two more plays so we can come out with a better feeling than what we have right now."

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Quarterback C.J. Brown took a step forward for the Terps (2-1).

Brown threw for 241 yards with one touchdown and one interception while also running for 161 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

However, Brown was stopped a yard short of a first down on a second-and-10 late in the fourth quarter. Fullback Kenny Goins was then stopped for a 5-yard loss on third-and-1, which allowed West Virginia's offense to get the ball back with 2:35 left.

Maryland punter Nate Renfro pinned the Mountaineers at their own 5-yard line with a 64-yard punt. However, West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett took the Mountaineers 65 yards in 13 plays to put Lambert in position for the game-winning field goal.

Trickett finished 37 of 49 for 511 yards with four touchdowns and one interception as West Virginia (2-1) finished with 694 yards of total offense and 33 first downs.

Twelve of the Mountaineers' 16 possessions stretched into Maryland territory.

"They just capitalized on plays when it was blown coverages and things like that," Terps outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue said.

But Maryland stayed in the game through a combination of big plays on offense, takeaways on defense and the big punt return from Likely.

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West Virginia led 28-6 after a 36-yard touchdown pass from Trickett to wide receiver Mario Alford with 6:09 left in the second quarter.

However, the Terps got a 77-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Stefon Diggs on the next play from scrimmage and later cut West Virginia's lead to just 28-20 with a 26-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Caleb Rowe to wide receiver Jacquille Veii with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Brown then broke off a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage during the second half to cut the Mountaineers' lead to 28-27.

West Virginia blocked a punt later in the quarter, and the ball went out of the end zone for a safety. Trickett then found wide receiver Daikel Shorts for an 11-yard touchdown on the Mountaineers' ensuing drive, a score that pushed West Virginia's lead back up to 37-27.

But Maryland again fought back.

A muffed punt by West Virginia early in the fourth quarter led to a 30-yard field goal by Terps kicker Brad Craddock. Likely then broke off his 69-yard TD return after Maryland's defense forced a three-and-out.

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The Terps came up empty on their final two drives, though, and Trickett was able to lead one last scoring drive.

"With all the things that we did, we still had an opportunity to win the game at the end," Edsall said. "We just came up a little bit short."

The Terps did do some good things against a West Virginia team that hung tough against No. 3 Alabama before falling 33-23 and then beat Towson 54-0.

Maryland worked its way back into the game after falling behind and got likely its best performance of the season from its offense.

"I do feel like we did take steps forward," Monroe said. "And like anything else, when you lose or you fall or you mistakes, you learn from it."

mzenitz@tribune.com

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