Maryland began the Randy Edsall era with a 32-24 win over Miami in front of a sellout crowd of 52,875 in rainy College Park Monday night.
Danny O’Brien completed 31 of 44 passes for 348 yards, one touchdown and one interception to ruin the debut for Miami coach Al Golden, who had eight players suspended because of an NCAA investigation. Those suspended included quarterback Jacory Harris and five defensive starters.
Maryland unveiled new uniforms that resembled the state flag, with half red and white colors and half black and gold. The garish new color scheme, designed to attract more attention to the team, will be debated by Maryland fans, but the uniforms were fitting on a night of exciting offense for the Terps.
If Maryland had converted more often in the red zone, the game might not have been close. Maryland outgained Miami 499 to 367.
With the Hurricanes up 24-23 late in the game, O’Brien lofted a perfect pass down the right sideline for 52 yards to Kevin Dorsey.The play set up the game-winning 32-yard field goal by Nick Ferrara with 1:39 left in the game.
Cornerback Cameron Chism sealed the game for Maryland with a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown one minute later.
Maryland quarterback O’Brien was sharp early, throwing short screen passes to wide-open teammates.
Head coach Edsall set the tone for Maryland during the first drive of the game by going for it on 4th-and-8 at the Miami 36-yard line. The gamble worked, as the Terps continued to drive down the field. O’Brien threw a 10-yard pass to Ronnie Tyler, who dove over the left pylon to score the first points of the Edsall era for Maryland.
Maryland stopped Miami and once again drove on the Cane defense, but on second down at the 1-yard line, O’Brien rolled right and threw an interception to Vaughn Telemaque. O’Brien probably could have run the ball into the end zone, but instead Miami took over at its own 20.
The Canes drove to the Maryland 26 but fumbled, and Ferrara later converted on a 24-yard field goal to put Maryland up 10-0.
Miami quarterback Stephen Morris went 4-of-4 on a 60-yard drive, capped off by a one-yard plunge by Mike James, and the Canes cut the lead to 10-7.
Maryland once again had trouble in the red zone, as Kerry Boykins dropped a pass in the end zone and the Terps settled for a 29-yard field goal to go up 13-7.
On the next drive, Lamar Miller, who ran for 119 yards, busted through the heart of the Maryland defense for a 41-yard run to give Miami the lead 14-13.
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With 1:23 to go before the half, Chism forced James to fumble, and defensive tackle Joe Vellano recovered the ball and lumbered 30 yards down the right sideline for the touchdown. The Terps went into the locker room with a 20-14 advantage.
Morris, who played admirably in place of Harris, scored on a five-yard run to put the Canes ahead 21-20. Morris completed 19 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two interceptions.
After a 28-yard field goal by Ferrara put the Terps up 23-21, drizzle turned into a driving rain at Byrd Stadium.
With Miami driving toward a chance for the go-ahead field goal, Andre Monroe sacked Morris at the 31 for a seven-yard loss. However, Chism was called for holding two plays later, and Miami’s Jake Wieclaw kicked a 30-yard field goal to put Miami ahead, 24-23 with 4:01 to go.
Davin Meggett led the Terps with 92 yards on 21 rushes. Dorsey caught eight passes for 124 yards.
Edsall, the former Connecticut coach, won his first game as Maryland coach. Edsall replaced Ralph Friedgen who was fired despite a 9-4 season that saw the Terps finish 5-3 in the ACC and win the Military Bowl 51-20 over East Carolina.