“I haven’t scored a touchdown since eighth grade,” said Vellano, one of four team captains.
The Terrapins began the game looking as if they may be on their way to a rout against the depleted Miami defense. On the game’s first drive, Maryland displayed its new offense by aggressively marching down the field in 11 plays. O’Brien completed 6 of 7 pass attempts; the only incompletion was a dropped pass by running back Davin Meggett.
Edsall showed no hesitation about going for it on fourth and eight from the Miami 36, when O’Brien completed a 10-yard pass to Meggett to keep the drive alive. O’Brien capped the drive with a quick pass to receiver Ronnie Tyler, who sneaked the ball across the goal line before going out of bounds.
The Terrapins were on the move again on their next drive, bringing the ball to the Miami 2-yard line with a series of quick passes from O’Brien. But then O’Brien got a little too fancy. He rolled to his right and, instead of running in the open field toward the goal line, tried to squeeze a pass into the back of the end zone to tight end Matt Furstenburg. Miami free safety Vaughn Telemaque intercepted the pass.
“I should have run it,” O’Brien said. “That’s the play I am thinking about right now.”
The interception was just the second bad pass thrown by O’Brien in his first 15 attempts in the game. In the first quarter alone, O’Brien completed 13 passes for 137 yards but had only seven points to show for it.
The Terrapins had another opportunity to build on their lead at the start of the second quarter. Maryland moved the ball inside the Miami 10 for the third time in the game but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Ferrara, his first since the 2009 season finale.
Maryland then penetrated the Miami 20 late in the quarter but again walked away with just three points — a 29-yard field goal by Ferrara — after wide receiver Kerry Boykins dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the end zone.
In any event, red-zone work is something Edsall said the Terrapins can work on in the lead up to the West Virginia game on Sept. 17. For now, players are still talking enthusiastically about the uniforms — which were unveiled to the team in a video during a Monday meeting at the hotel — and about avenging last season’s loss to Miami, something they have been eyeing for quite some time.
“We had the countdown clock in here, 189 days since the spring,” Vellano said. “Looking at it every day. This is huge.”