COLLEGE PARK, Md. Perhaps it was the trip across the country, the early kickoff or maybe even overconfidence.
For whatever reason, No.23 California was outplayed Saturday by Maryland, which held the Golden Bears without a touchdown until the closing minutes of a stunning 35-27 upset.
Coming off a 10-point loss to unheralded Middle Tennessee State, the Terrapins were given little chance against a California juggernaut that totaled 104 points in disposing of Michigan State and Pac-10 opponent Washington State.
But Da'Rel Scott ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns before leaving with a shoulder injury, Chris Turner threw for scores and the Terps (2-1) used a relentless defense to harass the Golden Bears (2-1) from the outset.
California scored three touchdowns in the final seven minutes, but by then Maryland was in control.
The Terrapins led 21-3 early in the second quarter, 21-6 at halftime and 28-6 after three quarters. The victory elevated the stature of the ACC, which has struggled against nonconference competition this season.
California's Jahvid Best, who amassed 311 yards rushing in his first two games, was at minus-1 after his first five carries. He also absorbed a very hard hit on a short pass with three minutes left in the second quarter and did not return until after halftime.
He finished with 25 yards on 10 carries.
After Cal failed to get a first down on its opening possession, Maryland moved 60 yards in five plays to take a 7-0 lead. Scott accounted for 44 yards rushing on the drive, including a 24-yard touchdown run.
VIRGINIA TECH 20, GEORGIA TECH 17: Tyrod Taylor led the Hokies' youth movement by running for 74 yards and a touchdown and leading a late drive to a winning field goal as the Hokies beat the host Yellow Jackets.
The touchdown highlighted Taylor's abilities, coming 10 seconds before halftime on a designed pass to the tight end that he instead ran in from 2 yards on a draw play.
“We were too close to the goal line for me to throw it away,” Taylor said of the run, on which he ignored instructions to throw the ball away if necessary. Virginia Tech had no timeouts remaining and would have been pleased to settle for a chip shot field goal.
FLORIDA STATE 46, CHATTANOOGA 7: Christian Ponder threw three first-half touchdown passes and the host Seminoles wrapped up the soft part of their schedule.
The Seminoles (2-0) scored three touchdowns 12 minutes into the game and led 30-7 at the half. They didn't have it quite as easy as last week when they roughed up another Southern Conference team, Western Carolina, 69-0. Western Carolina and Chattanooga (1-2) are members of the Football Championship Subdivision.
Coach Bobby Bowden collected career win No.375, staying abreast of Penn State's Joe Paterno, whose Nittany Lions whipped Syracuse.
CONNECTICUT 45, VIRGINIA 10: Donald Brown ran for 206 yards and three scores and host Connecticut (3-0) had touchdowns on its first four drives in the rout of the Cavaliers (1-2). Brown had 112 yards and two touchdowns at halftime and didn't play in the fourth quarter.