It could have been the biggest victory of the season for the Maryland Terps tonight in College Park as they used a strong first half to defeat the Florida State Seminoles team, 27-24. The loss tonight dropped the Seminoles to the schools worst start since 1976 and gave the chance for the Terps to right themselves a ticket to a bowl game in December.
Maryland controlled the game and led 27-14 in the third quarter, but was not assured the victory until Jeremy Navarre blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Gary Cismesia with 42 seconds left. It was only the second time in 17 tries that the Terrapins (6-2, 3-1) beat the Seminoles (4-4, 2-4).
“It’s a tough loss for us. We came in here with several key players missing and we played as hard as we could coming out of that locker room in the second half and to have the kick blocked was just part of our battles all night,” said Seminoles Head Coach Bobby Bowden.
On the other side of the field, Terps Head Coach Ralph Friedgen might have had the weight of the season lifted off his shoulders tonight and his sight of where this team is capable of going was evident after the victory tonight.
“It’s a big win for our team and a big win for our program, but we’ve still got such a long way to go. We’ve just got to continue to improve. We’re not there yet. We’re bowl eligible, but our goals are bigger than six wins. It’s probably a relief for the team. That sixth win is a big monkey on your back, but it doesn’t get any easier from here. We’ve got to keep our eyes on the next game and keep getting better,” said Friedgen.
Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach threw three touchdown passes, two to redshirt freshman wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, and the Terrapins improved to 2-15 against the Seminoles.
Florida State’s came alive late when Xaiver Lee found Chris Davis open down the middle of the field from 17 yards out to cut the score to 27-21 with 3:42 left in the third quarter. The scoring play capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive that featured two Lee scrambles for a combined 28 yards.
Florida State closed the gap to 27-24 with 8:49 left. Lee’s 55-yard pass gave the Seminoles first and goal on the 10. After Terps cornerback Josh Wilson tipped away a pass intended for Carr in the end zone, the Seminoles had to settle for Cismesia’s 24-yard field goal.
Starting the place of injured quarterback Drew Weatherford, Lee, went 22 for 36 with two touchdown passes. Despite the better performance at quaterback, the stats in the win and loss column tonight are all that matters for the Terps. Tonight they took home a much needed victory over a Semioles team they have failed to defeat for several years and is heading in the opposite direction at 4-4.