October 1, 2007

Defense rises to the occasion

Friday wasn't a normal one for the Terps as they prepared to play tenth-ranked Rutgers.

Things began to take an unusual turn from the start as they had to alter their route to the team hotel because of an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The 25-minute detour was just the start.

During the Friday night devotional at the hotel, guard Jaimie Thomas's father, Jerome, suffered a seizure on stage, fell over and got physically sick before the entire team. He was rushed to the hospital and the players were shocked over what they saw of one of their favorite teammate's fathers, who last season at Clemson gave a riveting devotional before the Terps emotional win at Death Valley.

The Terps defense had already suffered a blow to its confidence when it allowed Wake Forest to score 21 of their 28 unanswered points late in the 31-24 loss last week at Winston-Salem.

So having an incident like this could be a motivator or a setback to the team's mental state.

"At first I was shocked, and then I just broke down with tears in my eyes," said cornerback Kevin Barnes, a hero of the Rutgers game. "I've known Jaimie and his family for a few years now. We all came for our official visits together. I didn't know if he was going to die or what."

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