Notre Dame runs over and around the Terps - NBC Sports

Notre Dame runs over and around the Terps
Gray, Wood combine for 3 TDs as Irish roll to 45-21 victory
November 13, 2011, 12:11 am

Notre Dame's no-huddle offense created more than enough feel-good moments for the Fighting Irish and their "hometown" crowd.

Jonas Gray ran for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns, Tommy Rees threw for 296 yards and two scores, and Notre Dame cruised to a 45-21 victory over skidding Maryland on Saturday night.

Rees completed 30 of 38 passes, including 14 of 15 after halftime. The Irish (7-3) amassed 508 yards in offense and ran an astonishing 84 plays.

"We wanted to go with a hurry-up tempo offense," Rees said. "Throughout the game they were getting tired with our tempo."

They were not disappointed. Notre Dame led 7-0 after four minutes, 24-7 at halftime and 38-7 midway through the third quarter.

Gray led the charge, running for 84 yards and a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the first half.

"Getting off to a good start is running the football," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "Jonas Gray is what we've all been talking about in a consistent performer. I thought he was capable of this before the season."

Asked if it felt like a road game, Kelly said, "No, it was really loud coming in. It was an enjoyable atmosphere. We really loved being here. I know our players were excited when they got out on the field and heard the crowd and the action that in the stadium."

Maryland (2-8) dropped its sixth straight and also lost starting quarterback Danny O'Brien, who broke a bone in his left arm and is out for the season.

"He's not going to be back ready to play, I know that," coach Randy Edsall said.

The right-hander was replaced by C.J. Brown, who ran 24 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap a 97-yard drive.

Both teams were dressed for success. Notre Dame wore green jerseys and affixed large shamrocks onto their gold helmets, and Maryland pulled out its garish "Pride" uniforms - a white, red, black and yellow salute to the state flag. The Terrapins last wore the ensemble in the opener against Miami, a 32-24 win that remains their lone victory over an FBS team this season.

Minutes later, Lo Wood returned an interception 57 yards for a score to make it 38-7.

O'Brien returned for one play after the pick and left after being tackled hard on a 5-yard run. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 132 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Brown went 6 for 10 for 87 yards and ran three times for 31 yards.

"C.J. played well when he came in," Edsall said.

A week ago, Notre Dame needed a second-half comeback to beat Wake Forest. In this one, the Irish took control early.

After holding Maryland without a first down on the opening possession, Notre Dame cruised 67 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead. Gray ran four times for 32 yards, including a touchdown that extended his streak of games with a rushing TD to seven - most by a Notre Dame player since 1998.

Late in the quarter, David Ruffer kicked a career-long 52-yard field goal to cap an 11-play drive and put the Irish up 10-0.

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Held to three first downs on its first five possessions, Maryland finally got its offense clicking behind O'Brien, who went 5 for 5 on a 61-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Quintin McCree.

Notre Dame promptly restored the 17-point margin with a 13-play drive that ended with a touchdown run by Gray on a fourth-down play.

The Irish padded the margin soon after halftime. Notre Dame has outscored the opposition 77-13 in the third quarter this year.

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