City's Suber starts fresh at Wake

November 20, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Both teams will start true freshmen at free safety. That's the first clue that the stakes won't be that high when Maryland finishes its season today (1 p.m.) against Wake Forest at Groves Stadium.

Maryland's Lamont Gore and Wake Forest's Terrence Suber, who prepped at City, have shown great potential this season, but in programs that are on more solid footing, they probably would have red-shirted. Instead, Gore has started since mid-September and Suber was inserted this month.

The two figure prominently in a game in which the loser will finish last in the Atlantic Coast Conference, a position Maryland last occupied in 1971. The 1-9 Terps are trying to avoid the first 10-loss season in school history, and the Maryland defense needs to allow no more than 389 yards if it wants to avoid the NCAA Division I-A record for yards allowed in a season. As few as 10,000 fans could show up for the ACC Game of the Weak.

Statistically, Wake Forest has the second-worst defense in the ACC. The Demon Deacons blew a 21-7 lead in last week's 38-28 loss to Georgia Tech, but they never reached the depths that Maryland's defense did this season. Injuries, an ineligibility and a suspension stripped the Terps of six starters, and they have gone instead with four true freshmen. Maryland is allowing 550.6 yards per game, and the NCAA record is 536.0.

When asked what it was like to be thrown into the fire in mid-September, Gore said, "it's been pretty warm, but I'm making it."

Despite missing last week's game at North Carolina State with a back injury, Gore is No. 2 on the Terps' tackling chart. Eight of the top 12 spots are held by first-year players.

Four rookies start for Wake Forest's defense, but Suber is the only true freshman. He came off the bench in games two through eight, and got his first start two weeks ago.

"Terrence is playing more out of necessity than by design," said Jim Caldwell, Wake Forest's first-year coach. "To be honest, we wanted to red-shirt him, but he was forced into action early because of injuries to other players. He fit right in, and we're expecting big things from him in the future."

Suber, the only Baltimorean to get a Division I-A football scholarship this year, had a team-high 13 tackles against Georgia Tech. He played defensive back at City, but was better known as the option quarterback who guided the Knights to unbeaten seasons the past two years.

"I didn't expect to be playing as much as I have," Suber said. "My confidence was down when I arrived here, and I was physically unsure of myself [he's 5 feet 10, 175 pounds]. The more I've played, the better I've felt about myself, but this is a totally different world, playing safety in high school and then in college."

Suber will get his first taste of the run-and-shoot today, and Maryland is expected to score big.

Sophomore quarterback Scott Milanovich leads the ACC in total offense (3,014 yards), passing yards (3,083), completions (242), touchdown passes (21) and punting average (43.0).

Second-year coach Mark Duffner doesn't underestimate what a win would do for his young players.

"We want to finish on a high note and set things in motion for the off-season," Duffner said.

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