HERSHEY, Pa. -- As soon as Maryland decided to defer and give Pennsylvania the ball at the start, Titus Howard called it.
He has seen his former Clairton and future Pitt teammate Tyler Boyd cause all kinds of problems for opponents throughout their dynamic four-year run together.
"I told them, 'First kickoff,' " Howard said. "I knew what he was going to do. I told them he was going to take it to the crib, ain't nobody believed me.
"He took it to the crib and everybody came to me, 'You [were] right.' I said, 'I told you all. I know him. He's amazing. He's good.' "
"All I saw was straight daylight," Boyd said of his kickoff return, which popped Pennsylvania in front just 15 seconds into the game.
"I got a real great lane so I had to take full advantage of it."
Yet Boyd wasn't finished after his 91-yard kickoff return sparked an early Pennsylvania burst that led to a 58-27 victory against Maryland in the 56th installment of the Big 33 Classic Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium.
Boyd, 6 feet 1, 180 pounds, wound up hauling in two touchdown passes from North Allegheny's Mack Leftwich, ran for a third score and heaved a 68-yard scoring toss to Bishop McDevitt's Brian Lemelle.
Three of Boyd's touchdowns -- and his touchdown pass -- came before the break.
No wonder Boyd was clutching Pennsylvania's hulking most valuable player trophy as he posed for pictures and signed autographs.
"I had fun. I came out here, did what I had to do and we won it," said Boyd, who totaled 310 all-purpose yards.
He also played a role in Pennsylvania building a 28-0 lead with just 1:45 gone, returning an interception 40 yards for a score.
For a while, it was all Clairton all the time.
"We're so familiar with this building here, my whole high school career," Howard said, referring to the four PIAA Class A football titles he and Boyd helped Clairton collar in their four journeys to Hersheypark Stadium.
"So it's great to end it here on this field."
Pennsylvania also put an end to a four-game losing streak, although the four previous losses came against Ohio.
Coatesville's Chris Jones also caught two touchdowns for Pennsylvania, one from Leftwich and the other from Erie Cathedral Prep's Damion Terry.
Maryland MVP Shane Cockerille tossed two touchdown passes.
Boyd wouldn't admit it, but his personal touch played a big role in Pennsylvania prevailing. He just wanted to pitch in and do his part.
Still, it was his night.
"They [were] all great touchdowns," Boyd joked. "I had to help my team. I wasn't just a one-man team, I helped my team win. We brought it home finally."
Now Boyd and Howard will move on to Pitt.
The blue-and-gold uniforms Pennsylvania sported looked mighty comfortable on the Clairton tandem. Might be a sign.
"It's going to be a great journey," Howard said.mobilehome - hsfootball