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September 29, 2007

Maryland surprises No. 10 Rutgers

Box score

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers apparently doesn't like being in the top 10.

Backup quarterback Chris Turner led three second-half scoring drives, Keon Lattimore rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown and Maryland's defense shut down Ray Rice and No. 10 Rutgers' high-powered offense in a stunning 34-24 victory on Saturday.

It marked the second straight year that Rutgers was upset after getting into the top 10. Last year, Cincinnati surprised the Scarlet Knights a week after they reached No. 7 following an upset of then-No. 3 Louisville.

This year it was Maryland (3-2), which had dropped two straight games and was coming off a disheartening 31-24 overtime loss to Wake Forest, a game in which the Terps blew a 24-3 third quarter lead.

Maryland squandered a 14-3 lead late in the second quarter in this one, but rallied in the second half behind Turner, getting field goals of 26 and 37 yards from an erratic Obi Egekeze, a 2-yard TD run by Lattimore and a late 14-yard dash by Lance Ball, who rushed 90 yards and two touchdowns.

The last touchdown came after Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel was sacked and fumbled on a fourth-and-10 play from the Scarlet Knights 20 with about two minutes to play.

Teel threw two touchdown passes and Rice scored on a 1-yard run with 4:41 to go to cut the Maryland lead to 27-24, but the Terps' defense held stout this time against a Scarlet Knights offense that was averaging 46 points. Rice was held to 97 yards rushing on 21 carries.

The victory over a top 10 team was the first for Maryland since upsetting Florida State in 2004, and this is one it deserved. The Terps outplayed the Scarlet Knights, outgaining them 458-392 while forcing three turnovers.

The play of Turner, who was 14-of-20 for 149 yards in relief of the injured Jordan Steffy, and ability of Lattimore and Ball to gash the Scarlet Knights' defense were major keys to ending Rutgers' 10-game home winning streak.

Steffy took a hit to the helmet on the Terps' final series of the first half and Turner offered a passing dimension that Rutgers had trouble handling.

A 28-yard pass to Isaiah Williams and a penalty for roughing the passer led to Egekeze's 26-yard field goal that tied the game at 17 midway through the third quarter.

On their next series, Ball broke off a 32-yard run and Turner hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for 18 to set up a go-ahead 37-yard field goal with 3:43 left in the third quarter.

Maryland's defense held Rutgers to one first down on its next two series, and Turner led Maryland on a 58-yard touchdown drive. Lattimore capped it with a 2-yard run one play after LaQuan Williams stretched out to making a diving third-down catch of a 27-yard pass.

Rice, who had 59 yards on his first six carries, got Rutgers close with 4:41 left by capping an 11-play, 77-yard drive. The Scarlet Knights had one more shot after Lattimore was stuffed on a fourth down run from the Rutgers 35.

A 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the ball back to the 20 and Teel couldn't produce a miracle finish for the crowd of 43,803, the second-largest in school history.

Rutgers, which had not trailed all season, was down 14-3 late in the second quarter when Teel woke up the offense with two quick touchdown drives for a 17-14 halftime lead.

Teel, who came into the game as the nation's top-rated passer, capped a 78-yard, seven-play drive with a 20-yard toss to Tim Brown, cutting the Terps' lead to 14-10 with 52 seconds left in the half.

After Maryland failed to gain a first down, and lost Steffy, Teel and Rutgers needed only three plays and a penalty to go 70 yards, the last seven on a pass to Tiquan Underwood with six seconds left in the half.

After Maryland linebacker Dave Philistin dropped a sure interception on the opening play from scrimmage, Rutgers went 68 yards before settling for a 29-yard field goal by Jeremy Ito.

That was all the offense Rutgers generated until the end of the half.

Maryland had grabbed a 7-3 lead on a 19-yard run by Ball and upped the advantage to 14-3 on a 15-yard scoring pass from Steffy to Heyward-Bey. The score was set up when Maryland recovered a fumble by Dennis Campbell on a punt return.

Egekeze missed field goals of 51 and 39 yards in the first half.

For more coverage of Rutgers, visit ScarletNation.com; for more on Maryland, visit TerrapinTimes.com.

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