COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Sept. 1, 2012) - The William and Mary football team held Maryland scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter but was edged, 7-6, in both teams' season opener on Saturday afternoon at Byrd Stadium.
Although the Tribe (0-1) held the Terps (1-0) to just 236 total yards and forced four turnovers, a 6-yard go-ahead touchdown scamper by Maryland running back Justus Pickett with 9:52 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
The contest marked the third time in the last four years that W&M has played a FBS opponent tough deep into the fourth quarter. After defeating Virginia, 26-14, in 2009, the College led North Carolina by 10 points with less than 10 minutes remaining in 2010.
Making his first career start, redshirt freshman middle linebacker Luke Rhodes recorded a team-high 11 tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss. Senior safety Brian Thompson, sophomore safety Ivan Tagoe and redshirt freshman cornerback DeAndre Houston-Carson all registered interceptions, while junior safety Jerome Couplin III had a forced fumble and 1.5 TFLs. Sophomore defensive end Stephen Sinnott also came up big with a fumble recovery.
The Tribe got on the scoreboard first with a 30-yard field goal by junior placekicker Drake Kuhn with 11:35 showing on the first quarter clock. The short scoring drive began on Maryland's 34-yard line following an interception by Houston-Carson on the contest's opening drive.
A 22-yard field goal by Kuhn with 2:56 left in the opening quarter extended W&M's lead to 6-0. The score was set up with an interception by Thompson, which he returned 32 yards to the Maryland 9-yard line.
Maryland had an opportunity to capitalize off a Tribe turnover, but UM placekicker Brad Craddock missed a 25-yard field goal attempt midway through the second quarter.
Both teams' defensive units controlled much of the first half, as Maryland held a 132-88 advantage in total yards. However, W&M capitalized on two of the three turnovers it forced en route to owning a 6-0 edge at the break.
W&M had an opportunity to extend its lead early in the fourth quarter, but Kuhn's attempt from 48 yards missed to the left.
Following the missed field goal attempt, the Terps put together a 10-play, 69-yard drive that ended with the go-ahead touchdown run by Pickett.
The College marched to Maryland's 36-yard line on the ensuing drive but was eventually forced to punt. A 25-yard run by McBride and a 16-yard completion from sophomore quarterback Raphael Ortiz to senior wide receiver Ryan Moody helped power the drive.
After a 57-yard punt by UM's Nathan Renfro pinned W&M at its own 2-yard line with 2:17, the Tribe had one last chance to mount a comeback drive. Although the first play was a 31-yard completion from Ortiz to McBride down Maryland's sideline, W&M was unable to cross midfield. Facing a fourth-and-3 from its own 40-yard line, Ortiz was hit by Jeremiah Johnson behind the line of scrimmage and Demetrius Hartsfield picked up the loose ball and returned it to the 6-yard line.
With just one Tribe timeout remaining, Maryland was able to run the final 1:11 off the clock.
The Tribe will open its home slate next weekend when it hosts Lafayette on Saturday at 7 p.m.