No. 23 Maryland Edges Miami, 14-13
Nov. 11, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Bryan Pata would have been proud.
Playing five days after the shooting death of their senior leader, the emotionally drained Miami Hurricanes played valiantly before succumbing to No. 23 Maryland 14-13 Saturday.
Miami fell behind 14-0 early in the second quarter, then fought back behind a determined defense and the prowess of backup quarterback Kirby Freeman, making his first career start in place of injured starter Kyle Wright.
But Maryland (8-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) held on for its fifth straight win despite making only six first downs.
It was the third straight loss for Miami (5-5, 2-4), all to ranked opponents. The Hurricanes haven't lost three in a row since 1999.
Sam Hollenbach completed TD passes of 65 and 96 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey on Maryland's first and third possessions to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter. That was just enough offense to beat the Hurricanes, who were burdened by the death of Pata, a standout defensive lineman.
The Hurricanes decided to play the game because, as many players put it, Pata would have wanted it that way. Miami put forth an outstanding effort under extremely difficult circumstances, yet it wasn't enough.
To remember Pata, the Hurricanes wore decals with his number (95) on their helmets. Miami hoped to further honor him with a victory, but Maryland wouldn't comply.
Pata was killed outside his apartment complex after Tuesday's practice. He appeared in 41 games with the Hurricanes, starting 23, and was a big part of a unit that came in ranked third in the nation in rushing defense.
Miami's defense carried on, limiting the Terrapins to 56 yards rushing.
Hollenbach went 11-for-16 for 202 yards, and Heyward-Bey caught five passes for 175 yards.
Down 14-10, the Hurricanes held the ball for more than 10 minutes during a 77-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Jon Peattie with 11:02 left. Miami was left wanting more, however, because wide receiver Ryan Hill dropped a pass in the end zone three plays earlier.
The Hurricanes got the ball back on their 43 before Trey Covington intercepted a deflected pass at the Maryland 32 to end the drive. Miami then forced a punt, but Bruce Johnson fumbled the kick and the Terrapins recovered before running out the clock.
Freeman went 14-for-27 for 140 yards and led the Hurricanes with 78 yards rushing on 22 carries.
On the Terrapins' second offensive play, when Heyward-Bey slipped behind Randy Phillips on the left sideline and grabbed Hollenbach's pass in stride before completing the 65-yard play with a sprint to the end zone.
Maryland topped that on its third series. After a punt pinned the Terrapins on their own 4, Hollenbach lofted a long pass down the right sideline that Heyward-Bey gathered behind Glenn Sharpe and took the distance.
It was the longest pass play in Maryland history and the longest the Hurricanes ever surrendered.
Miami could have buckled, but instead rallied behind its backup quarterback and the memory of Pata. Peattie capped a 12-play drive with a 31-yard field goal, and the Hurricanes forced a three-and-out before Freeman threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Moore to make it 14-10.
A scoreless third quarter was marred by a neck injury to Maryland guard Donnie Woods, who was taken from the field on a stretcher and driven to a hospital. There was no immediate word on the extent of the injury.