Virginia Rallies to Beat Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) –Reserve running back Mikell Simpson capped an amazing all-around performance by scoring the winning touchdown with 16 seconds left, and Virginia beat Maryland 18-17 Saturday for its seventh straight victory.
Simpson scored on a 1-yard plunge to finish a frantic 90-yard drive that consumed more than seven minutes. Simpson touched the on each of the last 14 plays during the final 15-play drive. In last week’s home win vs. Connecticut, he played just one play. That gave the Cavaliers (7-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) yet another narrow win this season – five of their seven victories have come by five points or fewer.
Simpson ran 16 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 152 yards. The sophomore, who was listed third on the depth chart, had only two carries and four catches before Saturday.
Lance Ball ran for 72 yards and a touchdown, and Keon Lattimore had 65 yards rushing and a score for the Terrapins (4-3, 1-2). Maryland, which led 14-3 in the second quarter, managed only a field goal in the second half.
The Terrapins had not lost to Virginia at home since 1999. The victory gave the Cavaliers a measure of revenge from last year, when Maryland rallied from a 20-0 deficit to a 28-26 victory.
The seven straight victories ties a single-season record for the Cavaliers, who did it previously in 1914, 1949 and 1990.
At the outset of the third quarter, a roughing the passer penalty and a 15-yard facemask call against Virginia fueled a Maryland drive that produced a 41-yard field goal by Obi Egekeze for a 17-10 lead.
The Cavaliers closed to 17-12 when standout defensive end Chris Long sacked Chris Turner in the end zone for a safety with two seconds left in the quarter.
After the free kick, Virginia got to the Maryland 30. But Jameel Sewell was stopped for no gain on two straight quarterback sneaks, forcing the Cavaliers to give away the ball on downs.
Simpson ran for 72 yards on four carries and had five catches for 54 yards in the first half, but Lattimore and Ball combined for 98 yards rushing and two touchdowns to stake the Terrapins to a 14-10 lead.
Sewell came out throwing immediately after the opening kickoff. Virginia’s first four plays were short passes that totaled 61 yards, setting up a 36-yard field goal by Chris Gould.
The Terrapins answered with a nine-play, 69-yard drive that Lattimore ended with a 3-yard touchdown run. Virginia then drove from its 32 to the Maryland 15 before Gould missed a 34-yard field goal try.
After Lattimore ran for 47 yards in the first 15 minutes, Ball got his chance at the start of the second quarter. He ran four straight times for 35 yards, then took a swing pass 7 yards on a third-and-5 before scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 14-3.
Virginia, meanwhile, punted three straight times before Simpson broke through a hole in the middle of the line and sprinted 44 yards for his first touchdown of the year.