What ever happened to Western Maryland?
Four weeks ago, the Green Terrors were 4-1, 3-0 in the Centennial Football Conference and heading into a showdown matchup with Dickinson. They lost.
Today, Western Maryland is 4-5, 3-3 in the CFC, and preparing for a game against Johns Hopkins with nothing but pride on the line. Coach Dale Sprague has a simple explanation.
"There isn't any problem," Sprague said. "We're young. We played way over our heads early in the year. I went into the year thinking if we could go .500, we've done well. Everyone is saying: 'What's the problem? What's the problem?' Read the roster."
It shows three seniors in the starting lineup. Including special teams, 10 freshmen start. On defense, there are seven sophomores, including all four in the secondary. That's a secondary that allowed 108.6 yards passing per game in the first five games and 228 since.
One of the freshmen who has seen more time than Sprague would have wanted is quarterback Jody Goane, who replaced starter Paul McCord for two games, when McCord was out with a concussion. In Goane's starts, he completed 17 of 51 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions.
But, Sprague is quick to point out that even though the Green Terrors have been losing, they have been competitive. Western Maryland has lost its past four games by a total of 12 points.
"When I first came here, we were at a situation where getting wasted was expected," said Sprague, who went 0-10 with the Green Terrors in 1986. "We just got blasted each game. We had no talent."
This year, Sprague has at least one player with talent. On Saturday, tailback Eric Frees became the Division III all-purpose yardage leader with 6,622 yards. Unless he runs for 494 yards on Saturday, he will finish his career in second on the rushing list. Frees has 5,076 rushing yards. Joe Dudek ran for 5,570 for Plymouth State in 1982-85.
* MORGAN STATE: The Bears are 0-10, but five of those losses have come to nationally recognized teams. Youngstown State, Northern Iowa and Western Illinois were in the Division I-AA top 20 when they played Morgan. North Carolina A&T was an honorable mention team, just out of the top 20. Division II Virginia Union was ranked in the Sheridan Poll.
Morgan won't have to worry about playing a national powerhouse Saturday. Howard, which will visit Hughes Stadium, holds the distinction of being the only team Towson State has beaten on the road since the third game of 1988.
* TOWSON STATE: Defensive tackle Doug Irvin suffered a severely sprained ankle in the Tigers' victory over Howard on Saturday. He is doubtful for the remaining two games of the season. Bob Meehan, who just came back from a sprained knee, will replace him for the 1-8 Tigers.
Rob Ambrose, who is the holder for Tigers kicks, hurt his ankle. He is questionable.
* SALISBURY STATE: Senior Pierre Copes has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for the Sea Gulls (1-8). Copes, who has rushed for 272 yards in the past two games, is the team leader in rushing (607 yards, 128 carries, three touchdowns) and receiving (25 catches, 374 yards, one touchdown). He also has returned a punt for a touchdown this season.
* FROSTBURG STATE: Offensive guard James Curry started in place of Pat Pokorney (Loyola), who was out with an ankle injury, on Saturday. Curry will probably start the season finale Saturday at Charleston Southern.
At 7-2, the Bobcats have the most wins among the nine college football teams in the state.