Perhaps first-year Maryland coach Mark Duffner already knew what was in store for his young team when it faced West Virginia in Morgantown, Sept. 19, 1992. He had already seen them fade in the fourth quarter losses to Virginia and NC State despite moving the ball up and down the field on both teams.
Against 16th-ranked North Carolina State, Maryland amassed 501 yards of offense and 28 first downs (running a staggering 105 offensive plays), but could only put 10 points on the scoreboard.
West Virginia coach Don Nehlen said he didn't have enough wide receivers to emulate Duffner's "Run-and-Shoot" offense, and he had no idea what they were playing on defense.
"It's kind of a nickel package - a wide-tackle six type of thing," Nehlen said. "But their people are different from what wide tackle six teams use. The wide tackle six has four big guys in there. This is more like our defense (4-3) with two so-called big guys."
Early in the fourth quarter, West Virginia still didn’t look like it had things figured out. The Terps had just expanded their lead to 33-14 after quarterback John Kaleo hit Marcus Badgett for a 12-yard touchdown.
West Virginia, with backup quarterback Darren Studstill in the game for injured starter Jake Kelchner, was being serenaded with boos by fans upset with the team's performance and unaware of Kelchner's injury.
"It makes me nervous when a crowd boos a college player," said Nehlen.
Undeterred, Studstill drove West Virginia 78 yards in 11 plays, capping the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Adrian Murrell with 10:23 remaining to cut Maryland's lead to 33-21.
Six minutes later, Studstill had the Mountaineers back in the end zone when he connected with Ed Hill for a 6-yard score. Maryland couldn't move the sticks on its ensuing possession and punted the football back to WVU with 3:21 left on the clock.
Once again, Studstill moved the offense down the field, chewing up 55 yards and 2:01 off the clock. With 1:20 left in the game, Studstill hooked up with Murrell out of the backfield for a 20-yard touchdown to put WVU back on top, 34-33. WVU's two-point conversion to make it a three-point game was unsuccessful.
After Murrell scored the go-ahead touchdown, he drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing the ball up into the stands and West Virginia had to sweat out the remaining minute of the game.
Maryland got the ball to the West Virginia 30 where Dave DeArmas was brought in to try a game-winning field goal. But the boisterous crowd caused Maryland to be flagged five yards for an illegal procedure penalty, pushing the ball back to the 35.
Duffner instead opted to go for it and Kaleo's fourth and seven pass to Badgett fell incomplete. West Virginia's 20-point fourth-quarter comeback was the largest in Mountaineer Field history.
"That was some football game," Nehlen said afterward. "Our kids kept hanging in there and we finally got it done. It was a special game for us and we needed it badly. We were fortunate today."
"I still can't believe we lost this one," added Badgett. "It's hard to accept. It hasn't sunk in yet. It's not fair. We've out-everything'd everybody. Maybe we just thought we had it won too soon."