Maryland 27, Virginia 20
Head Coach Randy Edsall
Thoughts on the game:
“You can hear that you have a pretty happy locker room right next door. They just keep playing, they keep playing hard and giving everything they have for 60 minutes. When you do that you give yourself a chance and I’m very proud of them. Our execution can still be better but again, bottom line is we’re 2-0 in the ACC and 4-2 overall and we found a way to come on the road and get another victory, which I think is very, very important.”
On opening kick return for a touchdown:
“As I said to the team today at the hotel, the one thing we have to do is start fast and finish strong. I just didn’t know we were going to start that fast. The problem is I forgot to tell them to play in between the start and the finish. With Stefon (Diggs), nothing he does surprises me. Someone told me it was five-yards deep in the end zone and I figure he’s going to go down and then I see him start and I go, ‘No, no, no. Go, go, go! Yeah!’ It was one of those deals. That was a great start, and to get the first three scores, to put 17 up. Give Virginia credit, they are a good football team. They want to win, so to start like that and finish strong, again outscoring our opponent in the fourth quarter, making plays we needed to make, that’s kind of what this program is about, playing as hard as you can each and every play, never say die, just keep battling to impose your will on people.”
Thoughts on win in rivalry on the road:
“We compete against each other in recruiting. We don’t want them coming to Maryland and taking the kids we want and we want to be able to come down to Virginia and take the kids that we want. When it’s your crossover game and you take a look at how many times each of us has played against each other, it’s significant. What’s even more significant is when you are able to come in their house and beat them. To me that’s tremendous credit to these players and to the assistant coaches.”
On juggling the offensive line:
“To tell you the truth it wasn’t much of a problem because we anticipated and practiced certain ways during the week in terms of possible scenarios that could happen. One of the scenarios we made in practice on Thursday, because I always meet with the specialty coaches on Thursday, but just in terms of substitutions and how we were going to pack things in, the one thing we said was if anything happens to Sal (Conaboy), we’re at the point now that we’re going to take Evan Mulrooney and let him go in and be the backup and we’ll evaluate his play afterwards because we have Bennett (Fulper), who has played there, and we put Josh (Cary) in because of what we’ve seen of Evan at practice. He has elevated himself, so when Sal went down, give Sal credit because he tried to sneak back in, showing you the kind of player he is, but Evan went in, I’ll have to look at the film because I’m sure he made mistakes, but we’ll put in whoever we have to put in to get the job done. That’s what I like, everyone has to contribute when it’s their time.”
On his defense’s performance:
“We gave up some big plays but Virginia is a good offense. If you look at their numbers they are a good offense, and they present you with some problems. The bottom line is, I think they were seven of 20 from the third-down line, but we made some plays when we had to and that’s all I want from my guys. They can move the ball all they want in between the twenties but our tight red zone defense was outstanding today. We block a field goal and we hold them to two field goals, that’s something that I’m really proud of in terms that they hung in there and found a way to get it done.”
On Rocco coming in over Sims at the game’s end:
“As I evaluate them, watching them on film, I think he is the best passer that they have so it didn’t surprise me that when they got into that situation where they had to throw the ball that he would come in because, as I said, I think that he is the best pure passer of the two so I’ll leave it at that.”
Freshman Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs
“A lot of kids from my school play at UVa, so it felt good to come here and play so many people that I know. There was a great energy and a great vibe playing here. I’m glad we could come and win in their house.”
On running game:
“We have had a lot of ups and down, but it’s all about how you look at it in the end. You have to have faith in your quarterback, and you can’t get down on him at all.”
On 100 yard kickoff return:
“I knew once I got the ball in the end zone that I was going to take it out regardless. I hesitated a little at first because they were telling me to ‘stay in, stay in’ but I was thinking, ‘No we’re going to take this one out.’ Last game we had a shot but we didn’t go for it. My front line guys did a good job so I didn’t want them to waste all their energy.”
Sophomore Wide Receiver Marcus Leak
On season so far:
“Everyone has such high hopes for the season, and we’re all expecting a lot of good things from each other. We struggle with playing all four quarters together. You can notice that in certain games we will play good the first half and the other team will come back the second half. We just need to learn how to put all four quarters together. We’re getting better each day.
On punt return:
“Coach told me to come in and make sure that I caught everything and that’s what I did. I think Stefon [Diggs] may have gotten a little nicked up, but he came and asked me to go in. It turned out ok.”
Senior Defensive Lineman Joe Vellano
On playing all four quarters:
“That’s the biggest thing, just fighting on every play and I think our team kept fighting. The Virginia offense had a lot of runs and combinations, they made some plays on us that were tough but we just had to step it up in the red zone, and we blocked that field goal which gave us great momentum.”
On Virginia turnovers:
“We’ve been working on that all week. We have to capitalize when we get them and really take advantage of that opportunity when they lose the ball like that.”
On season compared to two years ago:
“Everyone is just fighting harder and taking it week by week. Everyone really wants it and we’re focusing on the ACC now. Next week [vs NC State] is one of our biggest games that we’ve ever played, so we’re just glad to get this one and now we need to get ready for next week.
“We do two minute drills and a lot of guys take a lot of pride in those last two minutes, so we were just stepping it up. We try to prevent easy reads and hold them to their line.”
Kicking Off: Maryland improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the ACC with the win, while Virginia dropped to 2-5 and 0-3 in the league … the road team has won six of the last seven games in the series … Maryland leads the all-time series, which began in 1919, 43-32-2 overall and 22-18 on the road … the last time the Terrapins started 2-0 in the ACC was 2001.
Diggs’ Return: Stefon Diggs gave Maryland a lead it wouldn’t surrender by taking the game’s opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. That was just the fourth 100-yard kickoff return for a TD in school history and the first since Josh Wilson had one in 2006. The others were Kenny Ambrusko vs. Navy (1964) and Dick Novak/Dennis Condie vs. Virginia in 1960 (Novak returned to the 9-yard line, then lateraled to Condie who returned 91 yds. for TD).
More on Diggs: Diggs came into Saturday’s game leading the ACC with 21.4 yards per catch and exceeded that against the Cavs with 89 yards on four catches (22.25 ypc). On the day, Diggs had a season-high 239 all-purpose yards (147 kick return, 89 receiving, 3 rushing).
Pass Rush: The Terps had a season-high five sacks, the fourth time this year they’ve had at least three in a game (4 vs. William & Mary, 3 vs. Temple, 3 vs. Wake Forest). Joe Vellano and Darin Drakeford delivered two each, while Keith Bowers had one.
Steady Signal Caller: Perry Hills was steady all game and helped seal the win by leading Maryland on a 6-play, 47-yard drive early in the fourth quarter to increase Maryland’s lead to 24-13. Hills went 14 of 26 for 237 yards and a touchdown on the day, and added a 6-yard touchdown run which capped the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
Defensive Notes: Joe Vellano tallied a team-high nine tackles including three for a loss and two sacks. Vellano now has 11 tackles for loss on the season, a team high … Darin Drakeford had two sacks, a forced fumble and seven total tackles (five unassisted) … Maryland totaled 10 tackles for loss.
Tidbits: Maryland’s 14 first quarter points were its most in the opening quarter this season … freshman Anthony Nixon’s interception in the first quarter was the first of his career … A.J. Francis recorded his second blocked field goal of the season (also vs. Temple) … Maryland lost the battle for time of possession, 33:32 to 26:28, but still won. The Terps are 2-1 when they fail to win TOP (win over William & Mary, loss to Connecticut) … the Terps committed just one penalty in the game and committed one turnover, while Virginia had two turnovers and seven penalties.