COLLEGE PARK -- It was supposed to be a great day fo Maryland football. Fans would get a chance to see the team's $6.1 million new facility. The replica of Testudo, the Terps mascot, was making his debut. The weather was great for tailgating and watching a football game.
But where were the fans? Maryland coach Mark Duffner showed more interest when he led cheers for Notebook
the 27,550 fans who attended the game at Byrd Stadium yesterday.
Maryland officials were expecting a crowd of 30,000 to 35,000.
"I'm surprised," said Jeff Gray, a Maryland associate athletic director. "It's less than what we like considering it's our first home game, new coach and facilities.
"I think the 12 o'clock start may have something to do with it because historically we have not drawn well for noon games. I believe it being a TV game also had an impact. We've sold less tickets for this game than any other home game, and we don't know why. We're still trying to figure it out."
Maryland junior wide receiver Frank Wycheck, a converted H-back, had four receptions for 27 yards yesterday and became the Terps' all-time leader in career receptions.
Wycheck now has 109, passing the record of 108 by Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'off, from Northeast High, from 1984 through 1987.
"It's an honor and all, but I haven't really thought about it," Wycheck said.
"Now if we had won, I would have said, 'oh yeah, and I got the record, too.' "
The Terps finally got Wycheck into the offense yesterday. He had only two receptions for 16 yards against Virginia last week.
"I'm more into the flow," Wycheck said.
"I was able to get my rhythm today. It's hard to work on someone's tendencies when you're playing sparingly, but I'm satisfied with my playing time."
Wycheck is one of several players from the Joe Krivak era who were either benched or had reduced playing time because they lack speed.
Maryland also got true freshman Jermaine Lewis in the game. He was the fastest high school sprinter in the country last year.
He had four catches for 26 yards yesterday.
"Actually, I was in just to give the starters a breather," Lewis said. "But it felt good to contribute."
Wycheck said that, despite the loss, Maryland's morale wasn't hurt. He said the Terps' morale is still high because of Duffner's work ethic.
"The players feel bad for him because he puts 110 percent into this program," Wycheck said. "You can't begin to understand how we feel about him. He's as emotional as we are, and we know he won't quit. We won't either."
Getting his chance
Maryland junior outside linebacker Jaime Flores, from Poly, received his most extensive playing time in his Terps career yesterday.
Flores had five tackles and recovered a fumble that stopped a North Carolina State drive at the Maryland 6 with 1:10 left in the third quarter.
"That's one of the good things I like about the new coaching staff," Flores said. "If you bust your butt, no matter who you are, you get a chance to play."
Bring on the Seminoles
North Carolina State can't wait to welcome Florida State to the ACC next Saturday in their game at Raleigh, N.C.
"I'm glad it's finally here," Wolfpack safety Mike Reid said. "The media's said a lot about them, like they're going to get the ACC crown before they've played anyone. I'm just glad they're coming to our place. I'll leave my talking for the field."
What makes it even bigger for flanker Eddie Goines is that he's from Lakeland, Fla.
"You want to test yourself against the best, and they're one of the better teams in the nation," Goines said. "We'll get a measure of how good we are."
Said coach Dick Sheridan: "They get bigger each week."
Quarterback John Kaleo's 56 passes broke the school record of 54 by Dan Henning against North Carolina State in 1986. Thanks to flanker Dan Prunzik's 4-yard completion to Wycheck in the fourth quarter, Maryland established a school record with 57 total pass attempts. The old mark was 54 against State in 1986. . . . Maryland's 32 completions tied the school record set in last week's loss to Virginia. . . . Maryland senior linebacker Mike Jarmolowich led Maryland with 12 tackles. . . . Maryland place kicker David DeArmas averaged 28.5 yards per punt yesterday. . . . The Terps had no injuries yesterday.