Maryland seniors look to exit winners Beating Clemson could aid recruiting

November 14, 1992|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland's football team is hoping to ride the momentum of 28 seniors playing their last home game to victory as the Terps play host to Clemson today (12:10 p.m.) at Byrd Stadium.

A win over Clemson (5-4 overall, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the season finale on regional television would give the Terps (2-8, 1-6) an extra lure going into the recruiting season. Maryland also would escape its second consecutive 2-9 season, but is still ensured of its worst back-to-back years since posting 2-9 records in 1970 and 1971.

"Everybody likes to go out as a winner," said Dan Prunzik, Maryland's senior slot receiver. "We've only had one winning season in the last five I've been here. I know I'll be giving my best, and so will all the other seniors. Hopefully, everyone else will do the same."

Maryland's coaches will get together tomorrow and grade the films.

"Then we'll have a recruiting meeting and then -- boom -- like the Oklahoma Land Rush, our staff will hit the trails," said Mark Duffner, Maryland's first-year coach. "You take your coaching whistle off, you put on your recruiting garb and then off you run."

Whatever happens, it has to be better than last week's 69-21 loss to No. 5 Florida State. The Seminoles set Atlantic Coast Conference records with 858 total yards, 40 first downs and an average of 9.2 yards per rush.

Maryland's defense was so bad that for the first time this year, coaches couldn't come up with a defensive player of the week.

"This is our bowl game," Duffner said. "It's at home, it's a TV game, it's our seniors' Senior Bowl. We're really happy to have a chance to battle back."

The Tigers have to finish with a winning record against Division I-A teams to be in consideration for a bowl bid. That means they have to beat Maryland and South Carolina.

Don't expect them to take the Terps lightly. Except for the Florida State loss, Maryland's other five conference losses were by a total of 33 points. The Terps have been particularly tough in Byrd Stadium, with four losses coming by a total of 20 points.

Clemson is coming off an impressive 40-7 victory over then-No. 18 North Carolina last week, but the Tigers still have problems stopping the pass. Clemson has given up 1,621 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air. Maryland leads the ACC in passing at 321 yards a game.

This is the first time Clemson has faced the run-and-shoot.

"It's [an offense] where you're always holding your breath because you don't know where the ball's going to be on the next play," said Clemson coach Ken Hatfield. "It's going to be a challenge."

* Duffner has suspended reserve sophomore outside linebacker Tim Fosque. Fosque, from Neptune, N.J., was arrested Wednesday night by campus police for allegedly stealing a computer on Sept. 22, campus police said. Fosque, a walk-on player, has been charged with theft over $300 and breaking and entering.

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