COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland and Virginia closed the door on their border rivalry with a wild, seesaw duel that went down to the final minute.
Caleb Rowe threw for 332 yards and hit tight end Dave Stinebaugh for the go-ahead score with 5:14 left, and the Terrapins escaped with a harrowing 27-26 victory Saturday.
Rowe’s 12-yard touchdown pass made it 27-26. Virginia moved to the Maryland 24-yard line in the closing seconds before Alec Vozenilek’s 42-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with 10 seconds remaining.
The game featured five lead changes, 973 yards in offense and 157 offensive plays — including a whopping 93 by the Cavaliers.
“Well, that will make you feel a few years older, but I’ll take it,” Terrapins coach Randy Edsall said. “It’s good to beat Virginia the last time we’ll see them probably in the foreseeable future.”
The Terrapins and Cavaliers first clashed in 1919 and have played every season since 1957. But Maryland is leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference next year to join the Big Ten, leaving the future of the series in doubt.
As it stands now, Maryland leads 44-32-2.
Rowe made his second career start in place of C.J. Brown, who sustained a concussion in last week’s 63-0 loss at Florida State. Rowe went 18 for 34 and directed an offense that accumulated 468 yards.
“I kind of felt like I was too ready,” Rowe said. “But once I settled in I made a few good plays here and there. Luckily, our team rallied around me and we came out with a victory.”
Brandon Ross ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns for the Terrapins (5-1, 1-1), who ended a three-game skid at home against the Cavaliers (2-4, 0-2).
“We know that’s probably the biggest rivalry we have in football here at the University of Maryland,” Edsall said. “So to be able to beat them the last time, it’s something special.”
David Watford went 27 for 44 for 263 yards and a score, and tight end Jake McGee had eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Cavaliers, who have lost three straight. Kevin Parks ran for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Khalek Shepherd contributed 81 yards rushing to an offense that amassed 505 yards.
“Obviously, we’ve got to do better to give us the opportunity to win the game at the end,” coach Mike London said. “Alec should not shoulder the blame or anything like that. That’s his first miss since he’s been kicking. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way the game goes sometimes. The kids were resilient. I’m really proud of their effort.”
The Terrapins trailed 23-20 in the fourth quarter when a Virginia punt hit a Maryland player and was recovered by the Cavaliers. That led to Vozenilek’s fourth field goal with 7:11 remaining.
Rowe brought the Terrapins back with the help of two exceptional receptions. First, Deon Long leaped between two defenders to grab a floater on a third-and-22 for a 47-yard gain to the Virginia 13.
“I probably shouldn’t say this, but Deon ran the wrong route,” Rowe said. “He just made a great catch. Deon is a great player and I just gave him a jump ball and he came down with it.”
London might remember that play more than any other.
“We talk about the missed field goal at the end, but on third-and-22 like that, you get off the field,” London said. “It’s a critical difference.”
Two plays later, Stinebaugh made a diving catch in the middle of the end zone that held up after a replay review.
Down at halftime, Maryland got two field goals from Brad Craddock in the third quarter to take a 20-16 lead. Craddock’s second 3-pointer came after Rowe ran 19 yards on a third-and-13 and followed that with a 21-yard completion to Stefon Diggs.
The advantage disappeared when Parks scored on a 6-yard run with 13:15 left in the game.
Vozenilek kicked three field goals, and the Cavaliers took advantage of two Maryland turnovers in going up 16-14 at halftime.
Virginia’s first possession ended with a punt. William Likely fumbled the kick, Darius Lee recovered for the Cavaliers and Vozenilek made it 3-0.
Minutes later, Watford completed passes of 16 and 38 yards to McGee in a drive that produced another field goal after Parks was twice stuffed at the 1-yard line.
“That was probably the difference in the game, holding them to field goals,” Edsall said. “We could have been down 10-0 rather than 6-0.”
The Terrapins went up 7-6 late in the quarter when Ross turned a screen pass into a 77-yard gain, then ran it in from the 1.
After a holding penalty wiped out a Maryland touchdown, Rowe lost a fumble. But the Terrapins got the ball back, and Ross made it 14-6 with a 7-yard touchdown run.
The Cavaliers then closed to 14-13, using a 44-yard run by Shepherd set up a 4-yard TD pass to McGee.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)