MIAMI, OCT. 10 -- Miami took advantage of poor special teams play by Maryland to roll to a 46-16 victory over the Terrapins tonight in front of 43,020 rain-soaked fans at the Orange Bowl.
And unless Maryland someday makes the Orange Bowl, those fans aren't likely to see the Terrapins again. With a 39-16 lead and 11 seconds left in the game, Miami had the ball on the Maryland 3-yard line. Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson called a pass and backup quarterback Craig Erickson completed it to Andre Brown for the touchdown and the final margin.
"Talk about classless," Maryland Athletic Director Lew Perkins said. "We will never play Miami again as long as I'm the athletic director. Why should we play them?"
Johnson -- whose team is now 4-0, ranked third in the nation and positioning itself for a New Year's Day bowl invitation -- defended the move, saying that he has only two quarterbacks on his roster and he has to prepare Erickson in case starter Steve Walsh is injured.
"I have an 18-year-old freshman as my only other quarterback," Johnson said. "We are in a pass offense and I've got to get that 18-year-old freshman ready to play. If Steve Walsh goes down, Erickson is our man and you could see that when he was in the game with more than a quarter to go, he dropped the snap twice."
Asked if it bothered him that he was leaving himself open to charges of running up the score, Johnson said, "My only concern is getting my team ready to win and getting that 18-year-old ready to win. We're in a passing offense and I can't prepare him to win by having him hand the ball off."
After the game, Maryland Coach Joe Krivak briefly shook hands with Johnson, but he wouldn't comment on the last touchdown.
Krivak had other problems, most notably his punting game. Maryland had its first punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. Another was partially blocked, which led to a Miami field goal. Two other times, punter Darryl Wright couldn't get the punt off because of bad snaps and Miami's rush. Miami turned the first of the two bad snaps into another touchdown. All the bad snaps came in the first half, after which Miami led 17-8.
"The punting just killed us in the first quarter," Krivak said. "Take that out and we played pretty good."
The Terrapins (2-3) have now lost two in a row and face undefeated Wake Forest Saturday.
"There were some positive things," Krivak said. "We ran the ball good at times. We'll try to take the good and build on that."
Maryland took the opening kickoff and started with two first downs, which seemed like a good sign. On third and 10 from the 41, the Terps tried the shotgun for the first time this season. Quarterback Dan Henning (17 of 32 for 142 yards, one interception) hit Dennis Spinelli on a screen pass, but he was a yard short of the first down. Then the punting disaster began.
Miami's Bubba McDowell, who had blocked six punts in his career, got his seventh, coming from the outside and to the left of Wright. The ball bounded back and Bennie Blades scooped it up and ran it 22 yards for a 7-0 lead with 11:40 left in the first quarter.
"They rushed 10 men, so there was a guy free on the outside," said Maryland safety Dean Green, who is the last man on the left. "I was stuck with two men. I was so worried about the outside guy, I didn't get enough of a piece of the inside guy."
Miami had a spot of punting trouble itself. Willis Peguese snapped the ball over the head of punter Jeff Feagles and out of the end zone, giving Maryland a safety. That left Miami ahead, 7-2, with 8:52 left in the first quarter.
The Terps' punting troubles continued on their next possession. Wright came on after three plays and a penalty. The snap from Frank Namath skidded on the wet turf and, though Wright recovered it, Miami took over at the Maryland 29. A few plays later, Melvin Bratton soared over the line from one yard out for a touchdown and a 14-2 lead with 4:29 left in the first quarter.
After Greg Cox missed a 45-yard field goal, Maryland put together its best drive of the half. The Terrapins moved from their 29 to the Miami 16, but Henning was then intercepted by George Mira Jr. while trying to hit John Bonato on a slant pattern.
But the Terrapins got a second chance when Irvin Smith jarred the ball loose from Bratton on the nextplay and Scott Whittier recovered at the Miami 13. Mike Anderson was stopped for no gain, but he went over the right side on the second play, broke two tackles and scored his first career touchdown. That cut the Miami lead to 14-8 with 7:36 left in the half. Maryland went for two, but Henning's pass to Bren Lowery was high.
After a Miami punt, Maryland took over at its 9 with 1:50 left in the half. The Terrapins weren't able to get a first down and they weren't able to run out the clock. Miami called timeout with 59 seconds left and Maryland setting up to punt. McDowell again dashed in and got a piece of the ball, which sailed 15 yards. Five plays later, Cox kicked a 22-yard field goal.
"When I had protection, I kicked the ball well," said Wright. "But they were in there all night. After the first one, I speeded up and I also stepped to the right because the majority of the rush came from the left." Maryland 2 6 0 8 16 Miami 14 3 15 14 46
Mi -- Be. Blades 22 return of blocked punt (Cox kick)
Ma -- Safety, snap over punter into end zone
Mi -- Bratton 1 run (Cox kick)
Ma -- Anderson 13 run (pass failed)
Mi -- FG Cox 22
Mi -- Walsh 3 run (Br. Blades pass from Walsh)
Mi -- Gary 1 run (Cox kick)
Mi -- Gary 1 run (Cox kick)
Ma -- Abdur-Ra'oof 15 pass from O'Donnell (Morton pass from O'Donnell)
Mi -- A. Brown 3 pass from Erickson (Cox kick)
A -- 43,020 Maryland Miami First downs 16 23 Rushes-yards 32-85 44-145 Passing yards 246 206 Return yards 0 83 Passing 23-42-2 17-35-1 Punts-average 7-36.4 5-35.6 Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-2 Penalties-yards 12-75 11-7
RUSHING -- Maryland: Spinelli 6-23, Lowery 9-1, Henning 3-minus 4, Wright 1-minus 5, Morton 4-18, Anderson
PASSING -- Maryland: Henning 17-32-1, 142 yards, O'Donnell 6-9-1, 104, Wright 0-1-0, 0. Miami: Walsh 14-28-
RECEIVING -- Maryland: Lowery 2-10, Spinelli 4-31, Anderson 2-17, Edmunds 4-61, Abdur-Ra'oof 4-78, Bonato 1