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Blue Raiders Fall at Maryland, 24-10

Williams and Grigsby both catch seven; Marks throws for 216

September 9, 2006 · MT Media Relations

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland scored 17 first-half points despite begin outgained and Middle Tennessee dropped two potential touchdown passes in a 24-10 Terrapins win over the Blue Raiders Saturday night at Chevy Chase Bank Field.

The Terrapins (2-0) scored on the opening possession of the game, added a field goal on their second possession and punched in a touchdown in the second quarter to take a 17-3 lead at halftime. Middle Tennessee outgained the Terps, 174-170, in the first half, but had just a field goal to show for it after dropping a possible TD in the second quarter.

The Blue Raiders (1-1) controlled the ball for much of the game, 34:04 to be exact, running 24 more plays than the Terrapins. Middle Tennessee gained 105 yards on the ground to go with 216 on 22-of-41 passing from quarterback Clint Marks.

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Blue Raiders vs. Maryland
Eugene Gross' one-yard run late in the third quarter and a Colby Smith 42-yard field goal in the first quarter were the only points of the contest for Middle Tennessee.

Gross rushed 13 times for 74 yards, while DeMarco McNair carried a career-high 13 times for 46 yards. Receivers Bobby Williams and Jonathan Grigsby each had a career-high seven catches and combined for 130 receiving yards.

Middle Tennessee hosts Tennessee Tech Thursday night at Floyd Stadium at 6 p.m. in their next contest.

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Maryland got on the board first with a four-play, 39-yard score on the opening drive of the game after a 61-yard kickoff return from Josh Wilson to begin the contest. Lance Ball rushed 12 yards for the score for an early 7-0 UM lead.

The Blue Raiders answered with a 13-play, 66-yard drive, but stalled after having first and 10 at the Terps 20-yard line. Smith booted a 42-yard field to make it 7-3 Maryland with 6:42 remaining in the opening period.

The Terrapins came right back with a seven-play drive, but Middle Tennessee's defense forced a 37-yard field goal by Dan Ennis for a 10-3 UM advantage.

Williams fumbled late in the first quarter, with Maryland setting up at the Blue Raider 30, but again the defense stiffened and forced a punt for a touchback.

The Blue Raiders then drove to the Terps 33, but Marks was sacked on fourth down with Middle Tennessee still trailing by seven.

Maryland took the ensuing possession 61 yards, capped by a one-yard quarterback sneak by Sam Hollenbach for a 17-3 Terrapins lead midway through the second period.

Maryland took its opening possession of the second half 41 yards after a short punt, with Ball scoring from two yards out for a 24-3 Terps advantage.

The Blue Raiders came back with an impressive 17-play, 80-yard drive that ate up more than eight minutes of the clock. The offense converted one fourth down as well as a 3rd and 20 situation, and Gross beat a pair of defenders to the corner for a two-yard scoring run in the final minute of the third quarter.

Middle Tennessee got the ball back halfway through the fourth period and picked up two first downs before Marks tossed an interception, but Maryland's J.J. Justice fumbled on the return, with the Blue Raiders taking over at the Maryland 48 yard line.

After two more first downs, the drive stalled after a fourth down completion to Jonathan Grigsby was just short at the Maryland five yard line.

POSTGAME NOTES
MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS MARYLAND
SEPTEMBER 9, 2006; BYRD STADIUM

GROSS OVER 2,000: With 74 rushing yards against Maryland, senior Eugene Gross topped the 2,000-yard mark for his career. Gross now has 2,021 career rushing yards and needs just 79 more yards to move past Lebrian McGill for 10th place on the all-time rushing list.

CORDER HAS CAREER NIGHT: Junior tight end Clinton Corder turned in the best effort of his career at Maryland with three catches for 24 yards. Both totals were career-bests for the Brentwood, Tenn., native. Corder entered tonight's game with just one reception during his career.

MARKS OVER 200: Quarterback Clint Marks recorded the 15th 200-yard passing game of his career in the loss to Maryland by completing 22-of-41 passes for 212 yards. Marks now stands just three 200-yard games behind all-time leader Wes Counts, who registered 18 during his record-setting year.

GROSS SCORES ... AGAIN: RB Eugene Gross continues to have a nose for the endzone after scoring the Blue Raiders' second touchdown of the season late in the third quarter at Maryland. Gross has now scored 33 career touchdowns, including 32 on the ground to rank fourth in both categories all-time at Middle Tennessee. Gross now has 198 career points to rank eighth all-time and stands just 16 points shy of tying Keegan Ray for seventh place.

MCNAIR A RECEIVER: Like Clinton Corder, running back DeMarco McNair entered the Maryland game with just one reception for his career and finished the night with a personal-best three catches for 32 yards. McNair could have added to the totals, but had two drops during the contest as well.

CAREER NIGHT FOR WILLIAMS: Sophomore Bobby Williams, who started 10 of 11 games as a true freshman and caught 22 passes, enjoyed his best game as a collegian at Maryland. Williams hauled in a personal-best seven receptions for 71 yards to lead the Blue Raiders.

OFFENSE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT: After struggling with just 175 total yards and seven points in the season-opening win over FIU, the Blue Raider offense came back against Maryland with a solid effort. Middle Tennessee came out and racked up 174 total yards in the first half alone, which was just one-yard shy of its entire total in the win over FIU. For the game, the Blue Raiders finished with 321 total yards, including 9-for-26 on third down, and owned the time of possession with 34:04.

DEFENSE HAS ANOTHER GOOD SHOWING: Middle Tennessee's defense allowed just six points in the season-opening win over FIU and held a powerful Maryland offense to less than 300 yards of total offense on Saturday. The unit gave up 274 total yards and kept the Terrapins to 3-of-8 on third down. In two contests the Blue Raider defense has allowed just 521 yards of total offense, only 260.5 on average.

QUICK HITTERS: OL Germayle Franklin made his 30th straight start tonight against Maryland ... OL David Price made his first collegiate start today at left guard in place of the injured Mark Thompson ... LB Justin Rainey made his first start since the last game of the 2003 season when he got the nod at middle linebacker against Maryland ... PK Matt King played in his first collegiate game tonight as the kickoff specialist and his first attempt went to the endzone ... DL Wes Hofacker made his first collegiate start when he got the call at Maryland ... Eugene Gross' first quarter run of 39 yards was the longest of the year by the Blue Raiders ... Freshmen Danny Carmichael and Alvin Ingle saw their first collegiate action against Maryland ... LB J.K. Sabb recorded his third career sack late in the first quarter and added another in the fourth period ... PK Colby Smith made his 23rd career field goal early in the first quarter and the first of the season for the senior ... Eugene Gross has now caught at least one pass in 14 straight games.

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