It was only a guess, but when asked if this was the greatest comeback in Maryland history, Coach Bobby Ross said, "I would think it has to be the greatest comeback in all of college football."
Ross was right. Maryland's comeback today from a 31-0 deficit to beat Miami ranks as the greatest comeback in the history of major college football, according to NCAA records. The previous best comeback was recorded on Sept. 12, 1981 when Oregon State fell behind, 28-0, and overtook Fresno State, 31-28.
Miami scored four touchdowns and a field goal in the first half for a 31-0 lead. Quarterback Bernie Kosar, in that half, completed 19 of 29 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns, without an interception or a sack.
The Hurricanes had 19 first downs to Maryland's three, and outgained the Terrapins, 328 yards to 57.
"It was a disaster," Ross said.
The second half, for Maryland, was glorious. It began with Frank Reich, the fifth-year senior, replacing Stan Gelbaugh at quarterback.
Maryland got the ball when Scott Schankweiler, the left outside linebacker, intercepted Kosar and returned 15 yards to the 48.
Three plays later, Reich passed 39 yards for a touchdown to Greg Hill, who made it 31-7 and at the same time became Maryland's all-time leading receiver.
Miami punted for the first time on its next series. Reich, on third and 12, read a blitz, and hit Hill for a 34-yard gain to the one. Reich leaned in for the touchdown that made it 31-14.
Miami got a 48-yard, against-the-wind field goal from Greg Cox to make it 34-14.
Maryland took over at its 20. Reich hit Eric Holder, on third and nine to keep the drive going, passed 17 yards to Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof, nine yards to Hill and 23 yards to Rick Badanjek, who broke two tackles.
On third and goal, after two runs failed, Reich threw two yards to Alvin Blount with five seconds left in the third quarter for 34-21.
The Terrapins held when Bruce Mesner and David Amend sacked Kosar. Maryland began play from its own 45 with 13 minutes to play in the game, still trailing by 13.
On third and two, Badanjek barely got three yards to sustain the drive. On fourth and inches, he got three yards again. Reich then hit Ferrell Edmunds for 18 yards. On the next play, Tommy Neal carried around left end for the 14-yard touchdown, putting Maryland within 34-28.
The Terrapins went ahead for good, 35-34, when Reich passed 17 yards to Holder, then 68 yards to Hill. The pass was tipped by Miami's Darrell Fullington, but Hill caught the deflection and ran the final 30 yards.
Miami's J.C. Penny fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Lewis Askew recovered at the five. Badanjek ran it in two plays later for 42-34.