Cavs Rally To Knock Off Terps, 34-30
Nov. 20, 1999
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Down 17-0 against Virginia in the first quarter,Maryland staged a brilliant comeback behind LaMont Jordan and a quarterback whospent most of the season in the defensive backfield.
Then, just when it appeared as if the Terrapins were on their way to awinning season and a bowl bid, Dan Ellis snatched it away.
Ellis threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Billy McMullen with 26 seconds leftas the Cavaliers overcame a school-record 306-yard rushing performance byJordan to beat the Terps 34-30 Saturday.
Virginia (7-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) clinched its 13th straightseason with at least seven wins and crushed the bowl hopes of the Terrapins(5-6, 2-6), who were poised to make their first trip to the postseason since1990.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite like I do right now,” said Marylandcoach Ron Vanderlinden, his voice cracking with emotion. “This has to be theworst loss I’ve ever been associated with because there was so much on theline. It was a chance to finish the season like it started, on such a highnote.”
After opening 5-2, the Terrapins closed with four straight losses.
Maryland had taken a 30-27 lead on a 22-yard field goal by Brian Kopka with5:18 left and appeared certain of victory when a fourth-down pass by Ellis fellincomplete with 1:40 to go. But Maryland failed to get a first down and, evenworse, stopped the clock when quarterback Randall Jones ran out of bounds onthird down with Virginia out of timeouts.
“That was a huge snafu. That was obviously a critical play,” Vanderlindensaid.
Vanderlinden pulled out all the stops in an effort to win the game, yankingfreshman quarterback Latrez Harrison after three series with the Terrapins down17-0. Jones, who led the offense last year but was moved to safety after theseason opener, took over and brought Maryland back into a tie by halftime.
But the Cavaliers and Ellis were just too good.
McMullen’s catch on the left side of the end zone in front of cornerbackTony Okanlawon capped an improbable 76-yard drive for the Cavaliers, who gotthe ball on their own 24 with no timeouts left and down by three points. Led byEllis, Virginia covered the distance in nine plays and just 46 seconds.
“I thought Dan Ellis was outstanding. He couldn’t have been any better,”Virginia coach George Welsh said. “I mean, right down the field with notimeouts. He got the signals quickly, he got the ball off and was verydecisive.”
Ellis went 21-for-34 for 276 yards and four touchdowns. Virginia’s ThomasJones ran for 91 yards and finished with 1,798 yards, breaking the ACCsingle-season record set in 1970 by Don McCauley.
Maryland had rallied from an early 17-0 deficit behind Jordan, whosesensational performance included a 90-yard touchdown run. It was the Terrapins’eighth straight loss to Virginia – and by far the most bitter.
“I’m tired, hurt and beat up,” a despondent Jordan said. “For four weekswe’ve been looking for that winning season. Now we’ve got to go a whole yearthinking about what could have and what should have been.”
Jordan carried the ball 37 times as Maryland amassed 445 yards on theground, their most since a 582-yard effort against Virginia in 1985. Jordanfinished the season with 1,632 yards, the highest total by a junior in ACChistory.
With the score 17-all in the third quarter and Maryland facing a third-and-6on its own 10, Jordan broke through the line, cut left and sprinted down thesideline on a 90-yard touchdown run. It was the longest run against Virginiasince Navy’s Joe Bellino reeled off a 90-yarder in 1960.
Virginia’s Tyree Foreman momentarily quieted the crowd with a 76-yardkickoff return, and David Greene made it 24-20 with a 43-yard field goal. TheCavaliers then blocked a 47-yard try by Kopka and Dwayne Stukes took the ballto the Maryland 38.
Seven plays later, Ellis put Virginia back in front with an 11-yard TD passto Casey Crawford. Kopka then kicked a 25-yard field goal to cap a 71-yarddrive and make it 27-27 with 12:20 left.
“We can’t stop anybody most of the time and our opponents can’t stop usmost of the time,” Welsh said.