To the Terps (3-0) and their coach, it mattered only that they managed to defeat the Huskies (0-2), 32-21, and, after two losing seasons, take another step Saturday night toward becoming the sort of team Edsall envisioned when he first arrived in College Park in 2011.
Edsall's return on a chilly night at Rentschler Field was overshadowed by what is becoming a familiar story: 500-plus total yards for Maryland engineered by dual-threat quarterback C.J. Brown, who passed for 277 yards and ran for 122.
Maryland had to overcome three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception) and injuries to cornerback Dexter McDougle and wide receiver Nigel King. The Terps failed twice in the first half to convert fourth-and-short attempts in UConn territory.
But the Terps were clearly the more potent team. Stefon Diggs (five catches for 110 yards) topped 100 yards receiving for the second straight game, and Brandon Ross had 95 rushing yards.
Maryland moved to 3-0 for the first time since 2001, when the Terps won their first seven games of the season, and won its first road game since Oct. 13, 2012, at Virginia, in last season's sixth game.
Edsall also said he's the first coach to win a game as a UConn coach — and as an opposing coach.
“I established a record there,” he said with a smile.
The Terps were booed heartily before the game when Edsall led them out of the tunnel, but it was hard to tell whether the response was louder because of the presence of the former Huskies coach, who hugged many of his former players at midfield after the game ended.
Maryland led 13-10 when Brown threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Diggs with 9:04 left in the third quarter. Brown had a 27-yard run during the drive.
Ross lost a fumble with 7:28 left in the third quarter, leading to Chad Christen's 34-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 20-13.
“We had 500 yards but we didn't put points on the board when we were in the red zone,” Brown said. “We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
But the Terps made it 27-13 when McDougle, a senior and team leader, stepped in front of Huskies wide receiver Geremy Davis for an interception he returned 49 yards for a touchdown near the end of the third quarter. It was McDougle's second interception of the game.
Moments later, McDougle headed to the locker room, apparently holding his right arm and shoulder. There was no immediate report on his status. In the first quarter, King was escorted off the field during Maryland's first series and sat on the bench holding crutches afterward.
With the Terps leading by two touchdowns, most of the largely blue-clad crowd of 38,916 left long before the game ended.
The Huskies took an early 7-0 lead after a 5-yard run by running back Lyle McCombs capped a 54-yard drive.
The Terps tied the score when Brown faked a handoff and kept the ball on a read-option play, racing 41 yards to the end zone with 11:10 remaining before halftime.
The teams then traded field goals. With the game tied at 10 and halftime nearing, Brown hit Levern Jacobs down the sideline on a 48-yard catch-and-run to the UConn 3. The Terps settled for a 21-yard field goal by Brad Craddock on the last play of the half to take a 13-10 lead.
Maryland's victory sets up a big game Saturday against border rival West Virginia at M&T; Bank Stadium.
"It's a good feeling to go 3-0," Brown said. "Any time you win, it's a lot more fun.”