SHREVEPORT, La. -- Jamie Flores sat disconsolately watching Maryland practice yesterday with his leg in a brace and a crutch in his hand.
The redshirt freshman defensive end from Poly suffered a sligh ligament tear in his left knee Wednesday and will miss the Independence Bowl game with Louisiana Tech tomorrow night. His cleats caught on the grass field during a pass rushing drill.
Flores played infrequently during the season, mostly on specia teams, but would have seen considerable action here. With Karl Edwards out with mononucleosis, Flores was listed as Jack Bradford's backup.
* Junior kicker Dan DeArmas says his brother, David, is heade for Maryland, too. David, who played for DeMatha High, was named a first-team prep All-America by USA Today after kicking 45 of 45 extra points and 13 of 16 field goals, with a long of 52, and punting for an average of 46.7.
* When Louisiana Tech quarterback Gene Johnson broke his ja in eight places last year, it was put back together by Dr. Brant Goyne, who happens to be chairman of the Independence Bowl.
"On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 9.8 break," Goyne said. "I reall thought I was going to go back in and do a bone graft from his hip. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle."
Johnson said he used to needle Goyne about inviting Tech to th bowl, but never realized "it would come to this."
* Goyne nominated Earnest Rudd to sing the national anthe tomorrow after listening to him sing in a restaurant. Rudd, a cook and sometime singer at Strawn's Eat Shop, is an ex-convict who did time for robbery.
"The hardest part for me is not singing in front of 30,000 t 40,000 people," Rudd said. "It's doing it sober. I sang in bands for 17 years, but I always did it with drugs in my body."
* Tech has gotten through the last two seasons without a majo injury. This year only three starters missed a game, and all were back the following week.
* Independence Stadium holds 50,459, but it has never bee filled for any of the previous 14 bowl games. The largest crowd was 46,369 in 1986 for Mississippi vs. Texas Tech; the smallest was 20,242 in 1988 for Southern Mississippi vs. Texas-El Paso.
Bowl officials feel a crowd of 40,000 tomorrow is "possible. They've sold 19,000 of their 20,000 tickets, Tech about 10,000 of its 15,000 and Maryland about 2,000 of its 15,000. The Terps needed to reach 2,000 to break even on the venture.
"We sold 2,000 like we hoped to," said Maryland athletic directo Andy Geiger. "We're within $10,000, plus or minus, of a pretty good trip."
Many of the 2,000 tickets were bought by Maryland fans wh didn't plan to attend. Geiger gave 535 of those to personnel at nearby Barksdale Air Force Base and will donate another 1,000 to the Boy Scouts, "with the hope their chaperones will buy reduced price tickets."
Independence Bowl preview
* WHEN AND WHERE: Tomorrow, 8 p.m., Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
* RADIO AND TELEVISION: WBAL-AM 1090; Ch. 45.
* MARYLAND OUTLOOK: This is the Terps' 17th bowl, their first since 1985. They're favored by 2 1/2 points. Several things about Maryland impress Tech coach Joe Raymond Peace, including the fact "their defense has 77 stops behind the line." He also likes Scott Zolak, the Terps' 6-foot-5 quarterback. "We haven't faced a quarterback as good as this," Peace said. "He's big and has a great arm." Maryland figures to unleash running back Mark Mason, who replaced Troy Jackson midway through the Virginia game and raced for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
* LOUISIANA TECH OUTLOOK: In only their second year in Division I-A, the Bulldogs won five straight after their two-point loss in the final three seconds to then-No. 5 Auburn and finished 8-3. Tech scored more than 30 points in each of its last five victories. The Bulldogs rank No. 10 in the country in total offense, twice having piled up over 600 yards and only three times accumulating under 400. Tailbacks Michael Richardson and Jason Davis have rushed for 1,114 and 929 yards, respectively. Wide receiver Bobby Slaughter, No. 2 in the nation with 7.1 catches a game, is an Associated Press third team All-America.
* FINAL FACTORS: Tech has intercepted 20 passes; the Terps have been intercepted 20 times, while getting only six interceptions themselves ... The Terps are bound to be spurred by their win over Virginia in the season finale . . . The teams have never met in football and had no common opponents this year . . . Tech QB Gene Johnson threw five interceptions in the first five quarters, but only four thereafter. He has passed for 2,129 yards to Zolak's 2,589 . . . Tech's most versatile weapon is receiver Eddie Brown, who has scored TDs five different ways the last two years -- rushing, receiving and on punt, kickoff and interception returns.