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UVa misses a potential game-winning field goal after scoring just two touchdowns in six possessions inside Maryland’s 10-yard line.
Virginia wide receiver Keeon Johnson (bottom right) is tackled by a pack of Maryland defenders College Park, Md., on Saturday.
Virginia quarterback David Watford (5) looks to throw during the first half. of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)]
Maryland running back Brandon Ross reacts after scoring a touchdown in the first half in College Park on Saturday.
Virginia tight end Jake McGee reacts after scoring a touchdown in the first half.
Maryland running back Brandon Ross (center) carries the ball between Virginia defenders.
Virginia defensive ends Eli Harold (7) and Max Valles (88) celebrate after Harold recovered a fumble by Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe in the first half of Saturday's game.
Virginia long snapper Matt Fortin (45) and kicker Alec Vozenilek walk off the field after Vozenilek missed a field goal in the final moments Saturday's game in College Park, Md. Maryland won 27-26.
Maryland tight end Dave Stinebaugh (top right) celebrates his touchdown with teammates over Virginia safety Anthony Harris in the second half of Saturday's game.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If Alec Vozenilek hadn’t already kicked four field goals, maybe his fifth attempt wouldn’t have been as pivotal Saturday.
“You dream about stuff like that as a kid,” said Vozenilek, who, in his second game as Virginia’s place-kicker, faced a 42-yard attempt that could have lifted the Cavaliers past Maryland in the closing seconds at Byrd Stadium.
Vozenilek, also the Cavaliers’ punter, was 6-for-6 on field goals before the longest attempt of his short tenure drifted to the right of the right upright with 10 seconds remaining.
Maryland held on for a 27-26 victory on an afternoon when UVa got as far as the Maryland 10-yard line or deeper on six possessions but could manage only two touchdowns.
“When you’ve got a chance to score a touchdown and have to settle repeatedly for three points, it’s never good,” said UVa tight end Jake McGee, who finished with eight receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Virginia (2-4, 0-2) had taken possession for the last time with 2:34 remaining and had driven from its 17-yard line to the Terrapins’ 24-yard line.
Maryland called a timeout with 1:00 on the clock and Virginia looking at a second-and-8 from the Terps’ 27. Kevin Parks ran right for 1 yard, after which Watford kept the ball on an option read and went into a slide at the 25.
“I don’t know if I would characterize it as conservative,” said UVa coach Mike London when asked about playing for a field goal. “Got to give Maryland credit. They did a good job defensively with some things we tried to do.”
Watford said he’d seen Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand “crash” on the second-down handoff to Parks and thought, if he kept the ball on third down, that there would be ample running room to the left.
“I said, ‘Run it again, run it again,’ ” Watford said.
The case could be made that the Cavaliers never should have been in that position. With 9:01 remaining and Virginia leading 23-20, replays showed that a Vozenilek punt had touched a Maryland player and UVa was awarded possession at the Terps’ 17.
The Cavaliers got to the 8-yard line before Parks was stopped on third-and-1 and the Cavaliers settled for Vozenilek’s fourth field goal, which made it 26-20 with 7:11 remaining.
Maryland (5-1, 1-1) quickly moved to the UVa 48, but, when Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe turned to toss the ball to a running back who wasn’t there, the Terps were fortunate to recover for a 12-yard loss at their 40.
Maryland was in a third-and-22 hole, but Rowe lofted the ball downfield and receiver Deon Long took the ball away from UVa defensive backs Drequan Hoskey and Anthony Harris, who could not have been covering him more closely.
“It was a fabulous catch,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. “Those are the things that Deon can do. That is a good lesson for Caleb and C.J. [Brown]. If you put the ball in a position where he and Stefon can go fight and jump they are going to make some plays.”
Clearly deflated, the Cavaliers watched Maryland score two plays later on a 12-yard pass from Rowe to a sliding tight end, David Stinebaugh.
It was the only reception of the game for Stinebaugh and, followed by a Brad Craddock extra point, gave Maryland its final 27-26 margin with 5:14 left.
Maryland was coming off a 63-0 loss one week earlier at Florida State, where Brown, the Terrapins’ regular quarterback, took a hit during the first half that prevented him from returning and left him with concussion symptoms.
“I really didn’t really settle in [against Virginia] until the second half,” said Rowe, who finished 18-of-34 for 332 yards. “I almost felt too ready.”
Maryland finished with 468 yards in total offenses, more than half of it coming on five plays that measured 77, 47, 39, 38 and 36 yards.
Twice in the first half, Maryland receivers came up with first-down receptions on balls that were touched first by UVa defensive backs.
“You want to limit those explosive plays, those plays over 15 [yards] plus,” London said. “They had their share.”
The Cavaliers had been plagued by turnovers and penalties in recent games but did not have a turnover Saturday, as compared to three Maryland fumbles.
“If you have a plus-three turnover margin, your odds go up,” London said. “That’s another thing that’s frustrating, but if we make the field goal, it’s a moot point.
“You want to win the game — pretty, ugly, whatever it is. This team needs to win a game. That’s a hurting locker room in there.”
Virginia looked back at losses to Pittsburgh and Ball State and felt those games were winnable, but not like Saturday’s game.
“There were a lot of opportunities that we let pass,” said UVa center Luke Bowanko, one of the UVa co-captains.
“We’ve got to have a little bit of a killer instinct and [following Maryland’s fumbled punt], that’s got to [go to] a touchdown-or-bust drive.”
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