BALTIMORE (CBS4/AP) – Nick Ferrara kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1:39 left, Danny O’Brien threw for 348 yards and a touchdown, and Maryland beat short-handed Miami 32-24 on Monday night in coach Randy Edsall’s first game with the Terrapins.
Miami was playing its initial game under Al Golden without eight suspended players, including quarterback Jacory Harris, linebacker Sean Spence and defensive linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo.
Stephen Morris capably filled in for Harris, going 19 for 28 for 195 yards and running for a touchdown. But on a fourth-and-4 in the final minute, the sophomore threw an interception that Cameron Chism took 54 yards for the clinching score with 39 seconds remaining.
It was the second touchdown by the Maryland defense, both involving Chism. He also forced a fumble that provided the Terps with a 20-14 halftime lead.
The Hurricanes, conversely, struggled defensively from the outset in this Atlantic Coast Conference duel.
Maryland amassed 311 yards and 19 first downs in the first half alone and finished with 499 yards, including 92 yards on 21 carries by Davin Meggett.
But the seesaw game came down to the closing minutes. Soon after O’Brien completed a 52-yard pass to Kevin Dorsey down the right sideline, Ferrera entered only one series after missing from 23 yards out. This one, however, was right down the middle.
Chism then provided the clincher.
A year ago, O’Brien went 9 for 28 for 134 yards in a 26-20 loss to the Hurricanes. In this one, he was 31 for 44 — including 19 for 26 for 228 yards after only four series.
But Maryland couldn’t put the finish on several impressive drives. The Terrapins got to the Miami 11 or closer on six occasions, yet they scored only one touchdown and twice came away with nothing.
The Terrapins emerged from the locker room with new white uniforms patterned after the state flag. They wore wild helmets spashed with red and white on the left side and black and yellow on the right, and the pattern continued to the shoulders.
As decreed by Edsall, there were no names on the back. Edsall took over for Ralph Friedgen, who was fired in December after a 10-year run.
The Hurricanes took a 21-20 lead early in the third quarter on a 5-yard run by Morris. Maryland regained the lead when Ferrara kicked his third field goal to end a 14-play drive.
The pattern ended when Miami received three penalties, including two straight for delay of game, and had to punt.
O’Brien began moving the Terps in a march that bridged the third and fourth quarters. In the middle of the drive, a rain that began at halftime picked up in intensity.
Maryland managed to get a first-and-goal at the Miami 5, but could get no closer before Ferrara’s field goal try sailed off to the right.
Morris then directed a 67-yard march that ended with a 30-yard field goal by Jake Wieclaw for a 24-23 lead with 4:01 remaining. Miami converted a fourth-and-1 on the drive and also benefited from a questionable defensive holding call on Chism.
That, however, would be the Hurricanes’ final surge.
Maryland took the opening kickoff and immediately deployed a no-huddle offense. The result: An 11-play, 79-yard march that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from O’Brien to Ronnie Tyler. O’Brien went 7 for 8 on the drive, including a 10-yard completion on a fourth-and-8.
After the Hurricanes went three and out, Maryland moved from its own 29 to the Miami 1 before Vaughn Telemaque intercepted O’Brien’s ill-advised pass in the end zone.
Miami’s next drive ended with Morris losing a fumble at the Maryland 33. The Terrapins then got to the Miami 10, but this time O’Brien handed off three straight times before a field goal made it 10-0.
Morris subsequently threw for 58 yards on a 60-yard march that ended with a 1-yard run by Mike James — the first touchdown of the Golden Era.
Maryland settled for a 29-yard field goal after Kerry Boykins dropped a short pass in the end zone. Miami took a 14-13 lead on a 41-yard run up the middle by Lamar Miller.
Late in the half, the Hurricanes were trying to run out the clock when James fumbled when hit by Chism. Defensive lineman Joe Vellano plucked it out of the air and lumbered 30 yards into the end zone with 47 seconds left.