Maryland's 'D' gets an 'F' in first test of season, 49-16

September 04, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

DURHAM, N.C. -- The offense, which carried the load in 1993, was going to be even more productive.

The defense was going to improve its tackling and finally locate the road to respectability.

Improvement by the Maryland football team wasn't evident yesterday, however, when the Terps' pie-in-the-sky preseason expectations were squashed into the soggy turf of Wallace Wade Stadium by a Duke team it thought it could handle.

The Blue Devils had a 21-0 lead in the 17th minute and never looked back in piling up 531 yards total offense and a 49-16

victory.

"This was a huge game for us," said junior quarterback Scott Milanovich. "To not only get beat, but to get embarrassed like we did, it kind of sets you back a bit. It was like we were going through the motions, expecting stuff to happen. We're not a good enough team where that's going to take place."

Maryland never asserted itself, and the result was its worst season-opening loss since 1967, when it lost at Oklahoma, 35-0. Instead of a happy beginning to coach Mark Duffner's third season, which continues Saturday against defending national champion Florida State at Byrd Stadium, the 20,831 spectators saw Maryland's nine-game win streak here come to an end.

"I'm really shocked by what we did," said first-year Duke coach Fred Goldsmith, who is trying to do here what he did for Rice, where he was the national Coach of the Year in 1992. "I would have been happy with a one-point win."

Other than a 40-yard field goal by sophomore transfer Joe O'Donnell and a positive debut by freshman running back Buddy Rodgers, there were few promising developments for Maryland against a team that had provided Duffner with two of his five victories with the Terps.

The Maryland defense got a head start on finishing last in Division I-A in yards allowed for the third straight year, and once again made a somebody out of a nobody. Robert Baldwin, a senior fullback who had rushed for more than 50 yards only five times in his career, set a Duke record with 238 yards on 33 carries. He rushed for four touchdowns. All of last season, Baldwin rushed for 332 yards on 70 carries.

Duke was the only offense Maryland was able to stop last year, but the Blue Devils, buoyed by a big and experienced line and multiple looks favored by Goldsmith, expected to have success against a Terps defense that lost three linemen to academics a day earlier.

The surprise of Duke's biggest victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1990 was that the Blue Devils' defensive line dominated Maryland.

Milanovich and left tackle Steve Ingram said they were prepared for Duke's stunts, but the Blue Devils recorded four sacks, shut down deep threat Jermaine Lewis and limited Milanovich to 230 yards passing, the third-lowest total in his 12 games as a starter.

"They did a good job of taking us out of our game," Milanovich said. "They did a good job of bringing the blitz in pressure situations, and we had a hard time trying to throw the ball deep."

Duke ran three plays and punted on the game's first possession, and that was the high point for the Maryland defense.

Junior quarterback Spence Fischer, who completed 15 of 24 for 197 yards and two touchdowns, found tight end John Farquhar wide-open for a 37-yard touchdown pass in the game's sixth minute. That pass completed a 69-yard drive, and the Blue Devils' six other touchdown drives went for 53, 77, 83, 69, 80 and 82 yards.

"It's obvious that we didn't play well on the defensive end," Duffner said. "It's not nearly what our expectations were, not nearly what this group has done in preseason camp. We weren't throwing multiple things out there, we were just trying to get people in the right position and attacking the line of scrimmage."

When the Terps' defenders were in position, Baldwin usually ran over them. A fifth-year, 6-foot, 230-pound senior from DeLand, Fla., Baldwin had touchdown runs of 3, 1, 11 and 34 yards.

Baldwin's second touchdown made it 21-0 with 13:32 left in the first half.

Maryland responded with its best drive to that point, but revisited its red zone difficulties of 1993 and stalled at the Blue Devils' 12-yard line. O'Donnell, a transfer from Division I-AA Tennessee-Martin, made a 40-yard field goal that was the Terps' longest in three years, since Dan DeArmas had a 50-yarder against Duke.

Four minutes and 83 yards later, Duke had its first four-touchdown game in a year and a 28-3 lead.

Maryland cut the difference to 28-9 on a high-wire walk down the left sideline by sophomore Geroy Simon, who turned a swing pass from Milanovich into a 43-yard touchdown. Simon finished with six receptions for 124 yards.

After Baldwin and Rodgers, a Parade All-America from Rhode Island, traded scoring runs, Duke delivered touchdown drives of 80 and 82 yards that were final reminders that the Terps still have far to go on defense.

"We sort of looked past them," said Ratcliff Thomas, the sophomore linebacker who led the Terps with 13 tackles. "We were a little nonchalant. We were saying it's Duke, it's not a big team."

After yesterday, everyone looks big to the Terps.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Florida 70, New Mexico St. 21

Florida St. 41, Virginia 17

Michigan 34, Boston Col. 26

Miami 56, Ga. Southern 0

Penn State 56, Minnesota 3

USC 24, Washington 17

N. Carolina 27, TCU 17

Clemson 27, Furman 6

Vanderbilt 35, Wake Forset 14

Bowie 13, Elizabeth City St. 0

Coverage: 13-17C

NEXT FOR MARYLAND:

Who: No. 4 Florida State

When: Saturday, at College Park

Record: 1-0

Yesterday: Beat Virginia, 41-17

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