Sunday, October 14, 2012
Diggs special for Terrapins
The freshman, who had 236 all-purpose yards, returned the opening kickoff 100 yards and Maryland never looked back in handing Virginia its fifth straight loss.
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Aaron McFarling's blog
Cavaliers' report card
B+After being outscored 48-0 in the third quarter of its previous two games, Virginia outscored Maryland 10-0 during that period Saturday.
DVirginia forced a Maryland fumble, only the fourth Cavalier takeaway in seven games, but UVa quarterback Phillip Sims had two turnovers, an interception that resulted in a Maryland touchdown and a fumble that resulted in a late Terrapins’ field goal.
FUVa gave up a 106-yard return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff, gave up another 34-yard kickoff return, had a short field goal blocked and was called for a crucial personal foul following one of its own extra points.
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- For a Virginia football team that has been making weekly vows to refine its special teams, Saturday's opening kickoff at Scott Stadium did not make much of a statement.
The official book will say that Maryland freshman Stephon Diggs returned Ian Frye's kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, but he was at least 5 yards deep when he fielded the ball.
Diggs hesitated for an instance, just long enough for the Cavaliers to fall back on their heels, and raced virtually untouched for the touchdown that gave Maryland a lead that it would not surrender.
The Terps scored two touchdowns in the first five minutes and held on for a 27-20 victory over the Cavaliers, who have lost their last five games.
"As I said to the team today at the hotel, the one thing we have to do is start fast and finish strong," second-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "I just didn't know we were going to start that fast.
"With Stephon 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!' "
The Terrapins (4-2, 2-0 ACC) prevailed on a day when they were held to minus-2 yards on the ground. Virginia (2-5, 0-3) outgained Maryland 386-258.
In its last three games, UVa has outgained the opposition by 240, 67 and 128 yards.
"The bottom line is, they were 7 of 20 from the third-down line, but we made some plays when we had to and that's all I want from our guys," Edsall said.
Phillip Sims made his second start for the Cavaliers but was replaced by former starter Michael Rocco with 6:01 left, at which point the Cavaliers trailed 27-13.
Rocco proceeded to lead the Cavaliers on a 10-play, 81-yard drive that was capped by a 24-yard touchdown reception by tight end Jake McGee with 4:10 remaining. Rocco completed five of seven passes for 79 yards and also had a 7-yard run.
There was plenty of time remaining, even though the Cavaliers had burned two timeouts while facing a third-and-2 in the third quarter. Virginia forced Maryland to punt and took possession at the Terrapins' 49-yard line with 1:51 left.
That was as far as the Cavaliers got. Rocco was incomplete on four straight passes, none more agonizing than a first-down pass to Khalek Shepherd streaking down the middle of the field.
"I'd had that play in my mind for a while," offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
Rocco said he had to throw the ball over the outstretched arms of a Terrapins defensive lineman but the ball sailed on him and Shepherd had to contort his body just to get one hand on it.
"It's kind of indicative of the season with these plays at the most opportune times that are not being made," UVa coach Mike London said. "[Shepherd] would still be running if we'd made that play."
The Cavaliers were not without their opportunities. On three separate drives, they got as far as the Maryland 12-yard line and only had two Frye field goals and a missed Drew Jarrett field goal, which prompted the move to Frye.
Frye's second field goal, a 22-yard chip shot, had trimmed Maryland's early 17-0 lead to 17-13 with 29 seconds left in the third quarter, but unpleasantries after the kick resulted in a personal foul against fullback Zach Swanson.
Virginia was forced to kick off from its 20, Diggs took the ball at his 19 and returned it 34 yards to the UVa 47. From there, the Terps needed only six plays for quarterback Perry Hills on the 10-yard run that restored their 10-point lead.
The personal foul was reminiscent of a play two weeks earlier at Scott Stadium, where a personal foul on offensive guard Sean Cascarano was one of the turning points in a 44-38 loss to then-unbeaten Louisiana Tech.
Virginia had seven penalties for 70 yards Saturday. Maryland was penalized once for 5 yards.
"The ones that happen after the scrimmage play are the silly ones," London said. "The message will continue getting preached to these guys. As I said before, the guys who get these multiple penalties that are post-snap plays won't be playing,"
London had recruited Diggs at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., and the Cavaliers have three players coming from that school in this year's class. Nobody was unaware of Diggs, who touched the ball only seven times - three kickoffs, four receptions - but had 236 all-purpose yards.
"They use him in a lot of ways, even as kind of a distraction," London said. "He's a dynamic player that takes chances. We've got to get more of those guys."