The Maryland offense opened the season with an ineffective performance that brought back memories of last year's team, which had one of the worst attacks in the nation.
Even though redshirt freshman quarterback Calvin McCall played well in his first game, Maryland needed two field goals from Brian Kopka and an outstanding defensive performance to defeat Temple, 6-0, tonight before 25,322 at Franklin Field.
Maryland's defense stifled Temple throughout but still needed to make a goal-line stand in the final seconds to save the victory. Temple drove to the Maryland 3-yard line with two seconds left, and cornerback Bryn Boggs knocked away Devin Scott's pass in the end zone on the game's final play to clinch the win. It was the Terrapins' first shutout in three years and their first road shutout since beating Wake Forest, 14-0, in 1987.
"Our defense played exceptionally well," Maryland Coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "I'm very proud of our defense. Our guys just did a great job."
McCall also had an impressive performance in his first game. He completed 10 of 23 passes for 100 yards and had a game-high 85 yards rushing. McCall's teammates dropped at least six of his passes, and could not score a touchdown despite being in Temple territory 10 times. Maryland also didn't convert any of its 15 third-down chances.
"We had a lot of missed opportunities, to say the least," Vanderlinden said. "We just missed too many [chances]."
Vanderlinden had refused to say throughout summer camp who would start, but indications pointed toward McCall. Vanderlinden did say earlier this week that McCall and Randall Jones, who shared starting time with former quarterback Ken Mastrole last season, would both play against Temple. Jones did not play in the game.
McCall showed few signs of inexperience against Temple, except for bumping into LaMont Jordan on a first-half play -- a miscue Vanderlinden blamed on Jordan for lining up too tight.
"All the players and coaches relaxed me last night and today," McCall said. "I just wanted to come out and play as hard as I could."
Vanderlinden said the coaches decided to start McCall eight days before the game. After the game, Vanderlinden confirmed McCall will be the starting quarterback for next week's game with Western Carolina.
The starting of Mukala Sikyala at tailback raised some eyebrows, however, as Vanderlinden had said during camp Jordan had the number one job. Vanderlinden had been upset with Jordan earlier in camp, but had said the junior had the top spot. But tonight, Vanderlinden said Jordan didn't start because of "an academic situation."
Jordan finished with 56 yards on 21 carries.
Temple's final drive was just the second time the Owls crossed into Maryland territory. The Owls didn't cross midfield until 11 minutes remained in the game. Temple nearly scored earlier in the drive when Scott apparently threw a 16-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds left, but he was ruled over the line of scrimmage.
The Terrapins limited Temple to 26 yards rushing on 21 carries. Scott completed 32 of 49 passes for 228 yards as the Owls had to pass on nearly every play in the second half. Temple set a school record by punting 12 times, and the Owls also were hit with 10 penalties for 95 yards.
The Terrapins controlled the game early, gaining 189 yards to Temple's 81 in the first half.
Sikyala's 34-yard run was the big play on Maryland's second drive, but that stalled at the Temple 10. Kopka then kicked a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 7 minutes 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Sikyala sprained his ankle in the first quarter and didn't return.
McCall broke free for a 56-yard run before being dragged down at the Temple 11 in the second quarter. However, the Terrapins also stalled there and faced fourth and five from the 6-yard line. Vanderlinden then went for a fake field goal, but John Waerig dropped holder Trey Evans's pass just outside the goal line.
A personal foul against Temple helped Maryland start its next possession at the Owls 26. Jordan gained 15 on the second play, but that drive also died and Kopka kicked a 26-yard field goal for the 6-0 lead.