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Maryland rolls over Florida International in opener

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Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown showed no signs of rust after leading his team to victory against Florida International University, 43-10.

Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown showed no signs of rust after leading his team to victory against Florida International University, 43-10.

Published on: Wednesday, September 04, 2013

By Daniel Kucin Jr.

There were no signs of rust in C.J. Brown’s game after missing last season due to injury last year.

His play helped the Terps dominate Florida International University 43-10 on Saturday at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Brown completed 20-23 passes for 281 yards, and he threw for three touchdowns. The senior also rushed more than 100 yards for two touchdowns.

“He was really excited to be back out there, and I was excited for him,” sophomore wide receiver Stefon Diggs said. “I knew he was going to do well and perform at the top of his game. He brought his ‘A’ game today, and he will do that every week.”

Maryland quickly jumped to a 6-0 lead after kicker Brad Craddock cashed in two field goal attempts, but the Terps struggled to find the end zone with good field position.

Florida International charged down the field late in the first quarter to split the lead with a 32-yard field goal made by Sergio Sroka.

However, Maryland responded with a scoring drive of its own to go up seven in a five-play drive that

amassed 86 yards. Brown rushed for a 29-yard touchdown to cap off the long drive in the first quarter 13-3.

Maryland started off with excellent field position near the end of the quarter after Florida International

punter Chris Ayers dropped a 35-yard punt down to Maryland’s own 40 yard line.

Brown tossed a 25-yard bomb to wide receiver Deon Long, who scampered into the end zone for his first touchdown grab as a Terrapin, 20-3.

“C.J. [Brown] and I have had chemistry since the first 7-on-7,” Long said. “During the summer on Saturday nights sometimes we would come out here and turn on the lights on the field and get workin. C.J. Is an athlete.”

Florida International wasn’t going to go down without a fight in the first half. On third and long on their own 30 yard line, Maryland made a costly mistake early in the second quarter. Florida International’s Greg Hickman sacked Brown and forced a fumble. FIU teammate Mike Wakefield recovered the ball to change possession in scoring position.

Florida International running back Lamarq Caldwell carried the bulk of the load on the ensuing drive. He finally broke the plain with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to double-digits. However, that would be that last time the Panthers would put points on the board.

Brown broke off a 64-yard run on the following drive to Florida International’s 17-yard line. On the very next play the gunslinger hit Kenneth Goings Jr. for a 17-yard touchdown pass, 26-10.

After FIU went three-and-out on the following drive, Diggs showed why he is one of the best wide receivers in the ACC. Diggs was on the receiving end of a 66-yard touchdown pass by Brown during the middle of the second quarter to increase the Terps’ lead to 23. Diggs had an offensive explosion against FIU with 194 all-purpose yards in Maryland’s fourth-straight season opening day victory.

“It was different from our opening game last year,” the Montgomery County product said. “This year we came out stronger, we came out executing better, and we ended up with the ‘W.’ Everyone just did a great job, and we will continue to get better for Old Dominion next week.”

Brown rushed for another touchdown near the end of the second quarter, and Craddock hit a field goal near the end of the contest to complete the scoring in a wild 43-10 finish.

Maryland will take on Old Dominion at home Saturday.

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