Milanovich closes records with march to remember

November 21, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Scott Milanovich is proud of his roots in western Pennsylvania, a cradle of great quarterbacks. To Maryland, the winning two-minute drill he engineered yesterday was as pretty as anything done by John Unitas or Joe Montana, earlier products of that region.

The 14-play, 99-yard drive that beat Wake Forest included one Milanovich scramble, 13 passing attempts, 10 completions and an abundance of cool. Maryland didn't fret when it fell behind 23-0 and 29-6, because it had the run-and-shoot, which can score in a hurry, and Milanovich.

The five touchdown passes he threw tied his school record and gave him 26 for the season, the most in Atlantic Coast Conference history. He completed a school-record 37 of 55 for 416 yards -- his fourth 400-yard game of the season. For the season, Milanovich had 279 completions in 431 attempts, and his 64.7 completion percentage and 3,499 yards are Maryland records.

Milanovich punted four times for a 52.5-yard average -- kicking 63- and 67-yarders with the wind -- and set yet another school record with his seasonal average of 43.8.

Unfortunately for Maryland, it set nearly as many records when it didn't have the ball, all of a negative nature. The 577 given up yesterday left it with a seasonal average of 553.0, well above the previous record of 536.0 set by Kansas in 1988. It set numerous school and ACC records for defensive futility, including points (479) and rushing touchdowns (38) allowed.

The Terps stopped John Leach when it counted most, but other than that goal-line stand with 2:35 left, little went right for a unit that by game's end had lost eight starters for the year. Every week they allowed even mediocre players to have career days. Sophomore quarterback Rusty LaRue, who entered yesterday's game with no career touchdown passes, got his first on a third-and-13 situation, and in the first half he also converted on third-and-17, third-and-14 and third-and-20.

The first Wake Forest touchdown, a 36-yard pass from LaRue to Dan Ballou, came when strong safety Angel Guerra couldn't keep his balance, and it was one of three glaring Terp mistakes in the game's first eight plays. Allen Williams misplayed the opening kickoff, making Maryland start on the 2-yard line, and Mark Mason lost a fumble on the Terps' second possession.

Leach sets records, too

Leach deserved better. The senior tailback, the only player in the ACC who leads his team in rushing and receiving, carried 46 times for 329 yards, breaking by a yard the ACC mark for yards in a game set by North Carolina's Derrick Fenner in 1986.

Wake Forest's Mike Green hit field goals of 20 and 35 yards with the wind, but in between he missed two extra points against the wind. When Leach moved it down to the 1 late in the fourth quarter, first-year coach Jim Caldwell ignored the wind at his back, sent in extra blockers and called on Leach a 12th straight time.

"I'd like to have that one back," said Caldwell, who assisted Joe Paterno the past seven seasons. "The way our offense was moving, we went with the best we had."

It was Maryland's second straight stunning victory at Wake Forest. Two years ago, when the Terps also went 2-9, Jim Sandwisch moved them 80 yards in less than two minutes, and the 35-yard touchdown pass to Frank Wycheck that gave Maryland a 23-22 win came with 1:34 left.

Briefly

Junior wide receiver Russ Weaver tied the Maryland single-game record with 14 receptions, and his season total of 69 is the second-best in school history, behind the 75 Marcus Badgett had last year. . . . Two of the Terps' past four victories have come on the last play, as they did the same to Duke last year. . . . Freshmen free safety Lamont Gore led the Terps with 11 tackles. . . . His Wake Forest counterpart, City grad Terrence Suber, left the game in the first quarter with a neck injury.

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