Terps take down Vols

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   ATLANTA -- "NA NA NA NA... NA NA NA NA... Hey, Hey... Good-bye!"
   That's what the Maryland fans thought as the Tennessee fan base exited the Georgia Dome early on Tuesday night.
   In Ozzy Osbourne's words, the University of Maryland Terrapins took the Tennessee Volunteers "off the rails of a 'Crazy Train'" with their 30-3 win at the 35th annual Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
   Despite entering the game without starting linebacker Eddie Moore, the Tennessee coaching choked again on many occasions during the contest, offensively and defensively.
   Although Coach Philip Fulmer took most of the blame, the feelings of Volunteer fans everywhere were once again confirmed on Tuesday night: offensive coordinator Randy Sanders needs to be removed.
   "We told our football team inside, I take full responsibility for our lack of execution and lack of play," said Tennessee coach Philip Fulmer. "We did not play nearly as well as I thought we were prepared to play."
   "Our discipline wasn't what we needed it to be. There were a number of things that weren't where they needed to be. I give credit to Maryland, Coach (Ralph) Friedgen and staff, and their football team."
   Maryland (11-3) overwhelmed the Volunteers (8-5) early.
   Terp quarterback Scott McBrien was a terror to the Vols, guiding the red and white down the field steadily in their first possession with some slipping runs and short passes.
   However, it was a tyrant fist-throwing show from Tennessee defensive back Julian Battle that gave Maryland possession inside the 10-yard line. After three successive stalls on the goal line, McBrien rolled left on a naked reverse to score the first touchdown of the contest.
   Maryland held off after another pair of possession swaps for a 7-0 lead after the first quarter.
   Terrapin middle linebacker and Butkus winner E.J. Henderson lived up to his hype in the first half, with seven tackles including a sledgehammer shot on Derrick Tinsley to halt Tennessee's second drive in the period.
   Henderson finished as the defensive MVP with his 12 tackles and two sacks.
   "I was coming in very impressed with E.J. Henderson," Fulmer said. "And I left very, very impressed with him. He's a great football player and he plays the game with a lot of intensity and pride."
   Said Henderson: "It feels really good to be the Peach Bowl Champions. All the hard work really paid off. We have really come together as a team. I think we showed we cam play with a team like this (Tennessee) and win it all."
   Tennessee received another blow to begin the second.
   After a solid drive spearhead by C.J. Fayton and Cedric Houston, quarterback Casey Clausen choked again this season with an interception to Curome Cox which was returned 54 yards to paydirt.
   The Terps went up 14-0 and a tenacious attitude displayed on the field looked like the Terps were ready to continue that prowess until Dick Clark and gang dropped the ball in Times Square later on at midnight.
   But the Vols rallied back with some good throws from Clausen, including an 11-yarder to Jason Witten.
   An illegal substitution penalty and another piledriver from Henderson forced Tennessee to settle with a 38-yard field goal from Alex Walls to cut the lead to eleven.
   Maryland was forced to punt during the next drive, while Tennessee's coaching staff made more questionable decisions for their offense, giving the Terrapin's the ball back with plenty of time left on the clock.
   McBrien guided his squad down the field to set up a 48-yard field goal by Nick Novak to push their lead at 17-3.
   Tennessee bounced back yet again with a 44-yard pass from Clausen to Troy Brown, but a 41-yard field goal attempt from Walls was not sufficient, ending the first half.
   Tennessee caught a lucky break early in the second half with a fumble from Latrez Harrison after a 17-yard pass play from McBrien.
   The Vols drove it down the field with help from Tony Brown, but fell inside their red zone after a fumble from Derrick Tinsley.
   Maryland ate the clock up behind Bruce Perry and McBrien, and followed with another field goal from Novak.
   Fulmer had additional reason for concern during Tennessee's second drive in the third period after E.J. Henderson throbbed Clausen around like a rag doll in back to back plays.
   Maryland drove into the fourth quarter with some consistent gains and another personal foul penalty against the Vols, consuming it with another McBrien scamper for a touchdown to take in a 27-3 lead.
   The majority of the Tennessee fan base exited the indoor combine, while Tennessee drove down the field behind some nice passes from Clausen to Witten and Brown. The Vols then stalled on four downs.
   Tennessee was forced to punt again, setting up a 25-yard field goal from Novak, which was the final dagger to a disappointing game for the Vols.
   Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen finished the game going 23 of 37 with 242 yards and a pick.
   "It's definitely frustrating the fact that we came into this game feeling so good with the team," Clausen said. "Especially when you don't play at the level you're supposed to play at."
   McBrien finished going 11 of 19 for 120 yards and tallied 38 on the ground with his two scores, giving him the game's offensive MVP.
   McBrien said: "We had a rocky start to the season, it was a shame it had to start out that way. I got more and more comfortable as the year went on and my teammates gained more and more confidence in me as the year went on."
   "We just executed very well tonight. We drew a lot of zone-man, but we kept it simple. We kept the defense on its toes and made plays when the opportunities were there. We got the job done."
   They did get the job done, and unless changes are immediately made in Knoxville, Tennessee fans will have a lot to gripe about the next few years.