"Tonight, we saw Stan Gelbaugh be the Stan we knew he could be," said Maryland Coach Bobby Ross, praising the effort of his quarterback. "I'm extremely happy to see Stan play the way he played."
So was Gelbaugh. The fifth-year senior, expected to be the key to Maryland's highly regarded offense, but got off to a rocky start this season. In his first two games, Gelbaugh completed 21 passes in 53 attempts for 241 yards and had twice as many interceptions (two) as touchdown passes.
But last night, for reasons even he can't explain, the real Gelbaugh emerged, much to the delight of the 51,250 fans who watched Maryland dismantle West Virginia, 28-0, at Byrd Stadium.
Gelbaugh completed 15 of 23 passes for 263 yards and had touchdown throws of 11 yards to Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof and 23 yards to Sean Sullivan. In between, Gelbaugh was mostly on target.
"I can't explain why I played badly in the first two games," Gelbaugh said. "But I guess if you look at my statistics (in the first two games), the criticism was fair. That's football. A quarterback always gets more credit than he deserves, bad or good.
"I had lost a bit of confidence and people were beginning to doubt me. But I felt a lot better throwing the ball tonight. Any time you hit the first couple of passes, you get on a roll and you feel better. I felt the old zip."
Abdur-Ra'oof said Gelbaugh did a good job staying in the pocket and finding the open receivers.
"Stan and the receivers got some heat after our first two games, but we worked all week and he really threw the ball good," said Abdur-Ra'oof, who had a career-high five catches for 90 yards.
In addition to Gelbaugh's passing, the Terrapins' running backs had 255 yards for a total offense of 518 yards.
"The offense needed to explode and this was a good start in that direction," said running back Tommy Neal, who had 90 yards rushing and touchdown runs of three and five yards.
Gelbaugh also looked good scrambling when the Mountaineers managed to pressure him.
"I don't think I'm much of a scrambler," Gelbaugh said. "But our receivers played great. Ziz (Abdur-Ra'oof) is a great receiver with great physical skills and you have to use him. (James) Millings also made some good catches (four for 62 yards). We didn't attack any particular side or defenders. When they took away the outside, we threw in the middle. When they took the middle, we threw outside."