COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Middle Tennessee's Alan Gendreau hit a 19-yard field goal as time expired, silencing the crowd of 43,167 at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md., Saturday afternoon, as the Blue Raiders defeated Maryland for the second-straight season, 32-31, in a see-saw thriller. It gave Middle Tennessee its first road victory over a BCS-conference opponent since 2005 when it defeated Vanderbilt.
The game-winning drive covered 73 yards on eight plays, as quarterback Dwight Dasher was 4-of-4 for 65 yards, including a 35-yard strike to Chris McClover to take the Blue Raiders down to the Terrapin 10-yard line.
Da'Rel Scott put Maryland in front on its second possession with a 48-yard burst through the line and up the right sideline for a 7-0 lead at the 6:46 mark of the first quarter.
Following a David DeFatta punt pinning the Terrapins at the 8-yard line, Derrick Crumpton intercepted a Chris Turner pass on the sixth play of the drive to give the Blue Raiders the ball just inside the 30-yard line.
Middle Tennessee (2-1) kept the ball through the remaining 4:19 of the first quarter and although Dasher's pass was incomplete, the Terrapins jumped offside on fourth down to continue the drive. Two plays later Dasher went into the end zone from three yards out to pull the Blue Raiders within one. Gendreau's ensuing extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the score at 7-6, with 14:39 to play in the first half.
On Maryland's first play from scrimmage, Danny Carmichael stripped Scott of the ball and Chris McCoy pounced on it, returning it to Middle Tennessee's favor. On the first play, Desmond Gee completed a 27-yard pass to Malcolm Beyah to move the Blue Raiders down to the Terrapins' 2-yard line.
Dasher then found Sancho McDonald for a touchdown at 13:06 on a seven-yard strike two plays later, giving Middle Tennessee its pair of touchdowns in just 1:33. Gendreau's kick was good, putting the Blue Raiders on top, 13-7.
Middle Tennessee forced another Maryland turnover with 9:44 remaining in the half, as Darin Davis fell on Jamarr Robinson's fumble at the MT 41-yard line. The Blue Raiders gained 24 yards on the possession but could not move any further. DeFatta then landed another punt inside the 10-yard line.
The Terrapins used a quick strike from Turner to Torrey Smith to advance the ball deep in Blue Raider territory, but the Middle Tennessee defense held firm forcing Maryland (1-2) to line up for a field goal attempt. McCoy broke through the line and blocked the 31-yard kick. However, the Terrapins quickly turned the tide as they recovered a Dasher fumble on the first MT play to resume their offensive attack at the 19-yard line.
Davin Meggett closed the first half scoring with a 1-yard dash at 1:19 to put the home team back ahead, 14-13, following the turnover. The Blue Raiders drove into Maryland's end of the field in an attempt to put points back on the board, but Cameron Chism intercepted Dasher's pass with 24 ticks remaining.
The second half started much like the first with Scott going around the right end for a long gain, rushing for 35 yards to take the Terrapins into Blue Raider territory. Two plays later, Smith snuck behind the MT secondary and was hit in-stride by a Turner pass from 37 yards out in the end zone for a 21-13 Maryland advantage at 12:22 of the third quarter.
Dasher sprinted for a 26-yard gain on the second play of Middle Tennessee's second drive of the half before Gee took the hand-off on the next play and broke free for 14 yards. Gee then grabbed the next hand-off and sprinted into paydirt from six yards to again close the deficit to one, 21-20, at 6:25 of the third quarter.
The two teams traded possessions and as Maryland took the ball with 4:34 remaining, Carmichael again knocked the ball loose from Scott's hands. Crumpton jumped on the ball, returning it to Middle Tennessee with three minutes to go in the third quarter. The Blue Raiders had an 11-yard touchdown reversed, but Gendreau added points via a 27-yard field goal with 48 seconds to play in the frame to put the visitors on top by two, 23-21, as the game entered the final 15 minutes.
Smith grabbed a 64-yard pass from Turner along the left sideline and broke free from a tackle and raced the final 15 yards untouched to put Maryland back ahead, 28-23, with 13:01 remaining in the contest.
Garrett Andrews escaped the Terrapin secondary and caught a 36-yard pass from Dasher on the next Middle Tennessee possession, setting up the Blue Raiders in Maryland territory. Four plays later, on a fourth-and-short, the pair connected again, this time across the middle, and Andrews high-stepped through two tackles into the end zone from 32 yards out at 9:04. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Blue Raiders ahead by one, 29-28.
The Terrapins responded with a drive that lasted nearly three minutes, resulting in a 42-yard field goal from Nick Ferrara at 6:14 of the fourth quarter to jump back in front, 31-29. As Middle Tennessee started its next drive, Dasher was picked off by Chism at the Maryland 46 and he crossed over midfield on the return to start the Terrapin drive at the Blue Raider 43.
The Blue Raiders forced a field goal attempt by Ferrara from 42 yards, but the kick was no good setting up the final Middle Tennessee drive with 1:30 on the clock and 75 yards to go to the end zone.
Dasher completed the contest 27-of-44 for a career-high 324 yards and two touchdowns. He also had one score on the ground. D. D. Kyles paced the Blue Raider ground attack with only 34 yards, while McClover was the leading receiver with seven catches for 110 yards.
Carmichael and Cam Robinson each finished with 10 tackles, while McCoy added nine for Middle Tennessee.
Turner completed 19-of-30 attempts for 288 yards and two touchdowns for Maryland. Scott finished with 117 yards on the ground, while Smith topped all players with 165 receiving yards.
The Blue Raiders will open Sun Belt action at 6 p.m. Saturday when it travels to Denton, Texas, to face the North Texas Mean Green.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE POST-GAME NOTES:
KNOCKING OFF THE BIG SIX: Middle Tennessee earned its fifth win in 35 all-time meetings against schools from the Big Six conferences with the 32-31 triumph Saturday against Maryland. The Blue Raiders picked up their first road win against one of the Big Six since a 2005 win at Vanderbilt.
MCCOY HAS HUGE GAME: Senior Chris McCoy turned in his best game as a Blue Raider against Maryland. The defensive end set career highs in tackles (9) and tackles for loss (4.0) to go along with a blocked field goal, a pass breakup and a sack. McCoy added 2.5 tackles for loss last week in the win over Memphis and now has 6.5 over the last two games combined. The four tackles for loss tie for second all-time in program history for a single game with nine other players and is the first time a Blue Raider had that many since J.K. Sabb posted a school-record five against North Texas in 2005.
3 STRAIGHT FOR DASHER: Junior quarterback Dwight Dasher registered his personal-best third straight 200-yard passing game, and career-high 324 yards, when he completed 27 of 44 passes for 2 touchdown passes. Dasher's 27 completions and 44 attempts against Maryland were also career-highs for the Folkston, Ga., native.
ANDREWS SHINES: Junior Garrett Andrews came up with a career-best four receptions for 83 yards and his first touchdown as a Blue Raider. The junior college transfer thought he had a touchdown in the third quarter but a replay review reversed the call. Andrews came right back on the next possession and took a pass 32 yards on 4th and 1 for his first touchdown.
GEE WHIZ: Senior wide receiver Desmond Gee scored his first touchdown of the season in the third quarter against Maryland on a six-yard run from the tailback position. It was Gee's sixth career rushing touchdown and his first since his freshman year in 2006. Overall, Gee now has 14 career touchdowns with eight on receptions and six on rushes.
MCCLOVER SETS CAREER-HIGH: Senior Chris McClover turned in his best game as a Blue Raider against Maryland. The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native hauled in a personal-best seven receptions for a career-high 110 yards. McClover's previous high was four catches against Arkansas State in 2008. He had two catches on the game-winning drive for 46 yards.
FIRST BLOCK: Senior Chris McCoy recorded his first career blocked kick when he rejected a Maryland field goal in the second quarter. It went down as the first blocked field goal since Alex Suber rejected one against Kentucky in 2008. Overall, the block was the 27th for the Blue Raiders in the FBS era (since 1999) and the seventh under Rick Stockstill. Since 1999, there have been 10 blocked field goals, nine punts and eight PATs.
MCDONALD FINDS END ZONE: Sophomore wide receiver Sancho McDonald, who had the best fall camp of any receiver, registered his first touchdown of the season when he hauled in a Dwight Dasher pass in the second quarter to give the Blue Raiders the lead. McDonald now has four career touchdown catches and that was his first from Dasher.
ONE MORE FOR MCCOY: Defensive end Chris McCoy came up with his fifth career fumble recovery in the second quarter against Maryland after linebacker Danny Carmichael forced the miscue. McCoy, who recovered a fumble at Clemson and went 68 yards for a touchdown, now has two recoveries on the season.
FIRST FOR CRUMP: Sophomore Derrick Crumpton, who has been receiving more snaps this season, came up with his first career interception against Maryland. Crumpton caught a tipped pass to set up the Blue Raiders deep in Terps territory to set up the team's first touchdown. It went down as the Blue Raiders' third interception of the season. Later in the third quarter Crumpton recovered a fumble for his second turnover gain of the game.
'ATTA BOY LATTIMORE: Defensive end Jamari Lattimore turned in the best game of his career, finishing with five tackles against the Terrapins Saturday. Of the five stops, three were sacks for a loss of 25 yards. He also had one forced fumble.
QUICK HITTERS: LB Danny Carmichael forced a career-best two fumbles today ... Center Mark Thompson made his team-leading 27th straight start ... RB D.D. Kyles made his first collegiate start today in place of the injured Phillip Tanner ... WR Desmond Gee completed his second career pass when he hit Malcolm Beyah for a 27-yard strike in the second quarter ... LB Darin Davis recorded his first career fumble recovery in the second quarter ... True freshman WR Tavarres Jefferson made his first collegiate reception in the second quarter ... WR Patrick Honeycutt had a career long punt return of 15 yards in the third quarter to best his previous best of 11 yards set last year against Maryland ... Kyles had a career long run of 12 yards late in the third quarter.