Schedule isn't doing Terps any favors No. 9 Penn State latest in string of Top 25 foes Maryland notebook

September 28, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Injuries and inexperience contributed to a winless September for Maryland, but a difficult schedule that doesn't get any easier is a contributing factor.

Penn State, which on Saturday (7 p.m.) makes its last scheduled visit to Byrd Stadium this century, is the fourth Top 25 opponent to test the Terps this season. Virginia Tech is the only team that they've faced that isn't in the Top 25, but the Hokies received the 28th-highest number of votes in the Associated Press poll.

* Maryland opened against Virginia (4-0), currently No. 21. The Cavaliers' 43-29 victory over the Terps was their closest call thus far.

* Next up was No. 16 North Carolina (4-1), which has lost only to No. 1 Florida State.

* West Virginia, which held on to beat Maryland, 42-37, Sept. 18, is 3-0 and ranked No. 25.

* Virginia Tech (3-1), off to its best start in seven years, has lost only to No. 3 Miami.

* No. 9 Penn State (4-0), which is 27-0-1 against the Terps since 1961, represents their biggest challenge thus far.

Including Penn State, the combined record of Terps' opponents to date is 18-2, with the losses coming against the Nos. 1 and 3 teams. Top-ranked Florida State is still to come, at Byrd Stadium on Nov. 6.

"We knew what we were getting into," coach Mark Duffner said. "Obviously, the caliber of the competition has something to do with our record."

Passing fancy

For the second straight week, Scott Milanovich passed for more yards than any other NCAA Division I-A quarterback and the Terps' last-rated defense helped the opposing quarterback climb atop the NCAA in passing efficiency.

After West Virginia moved through the Terps, Mountaineers quarterback Jake Kelchner was the NCAA's top-rated quarterback. He didn't have enough attempts in a rout of Missouri to stay there, so the top spot was inherited by Virginia Tech's Maurice DeShazo, who threw only 16 times against Maryland, but completed 10 for four touchdowns and 256 yards.

Maryland, which played most of the second half against Tech with one senior, is ranked last among the 106 I-A teams in total defense. The Terps are allowing 592.5 yards per game, and they're well on their way to breaking the NCAA record for defensive futility -- 536 yards allowed by Kansas in 1988.

Milanovich, meanwhile, ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in passing attempts, 194; yards passing, 1,607; and touchdown passes, 16. He's completed 117 passes, second to Nevada's Chris Vargas (125).

Briefly

Duffner said superback Larry Washington wasn't suspended for the Virginia Tech game, but the junior from Randallstown simply didn't make the trip after missing practice. . . . Poly grad Vernon Smith, a running back who played at Villanova in 1990 and '91, isn't the only transfer sitting out this season. Luther Alexander, a linebacker out of Calvert Hall, played for the Penn freshmen last year before joining the Terps earlier this month. He has three years of eligibility remaining. . . . Following three missed field-goal attempts by Ken Lytle, walk-on John Milligan will get a chance to win that job this week.

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