Like old times for Terps' defense

October 16, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Maryland might have solved its quandary at quarterback, but the Terps misplaced the defensive momentum they had gathered in the past month.

Scott Milanovich went nearly the entire way at quarterback and the Terps' offense had a decent game, but the clock was the only obstacle that impeded North Carolina's option attack yesterday. The Tar Heels never punted and never looked back after spotting Maryland a touchdown on the game's opening possession, as quarterback Jason Stanicek guided No. 15 North Carolina to a 41-17 rout of the Terps.

It was Maryland's second straight visit to Kenan Stadium, and the output gave North Carolina an even 100 points in the two games.

The Terps' defense had shown statistical improvement against some mediocre offenses in its three previous games, but it was helpless against the Tar Heels, who reminded Maryland that it is still only six games removed from a season in which it set an NCAA record for yards allowed. North Carolina scored five touchdowns, and two field goals by Tripp Pignetti followed the only third downs it failed to convert. The Tar Heels were stopped only by the clock, at the half and at the end of the game.

Maryland (2-4, 1-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) held the ball longer than North Carolina (5-1, 2-1) and actually improved its yards-allowed average, but both were meaningless statistics. What mattered most was that the Terps' defense knew what was coming, had an extra week to prepare, and was still unable to stop it.

"We let Carolina run up and down the field," defensive tackle Jamie Bragg said. "They played smash-mouth football, and we didn't play it back. We worked on stopping the dive, the trap and the option for the last two weeks, but we still couldn't do it. We physically got beat. It makes me sick."

Stanicek, who attempted just one pass in the second half, froze the Terps early with his play-action moves, and they never did warm to him. The tailback tandem of Curtis Johnson and Leon Johnson combined for 184 yards, Stanicek rolled left and right for another 50, and completed six of 11 passes for another 105 yards. North Carolina out-gained Maryland, 440 yards to 349.

"We planned on throwing more in the second half," North Carolina coach Mack Brown said, "but we didn't have to."

North Carolina won a 59-42 shootout here last year, and Maryland appeared ready for another point-fest, but the Terps' offense kept coming up short after it took the opening kickoff and moved 61 yards for a 7-0 lead. The Tar Heels outscored the Terps 27-3 during the next 32 minutes, and after Maryland's comeback plans were squashed by a failed onside kick, North Carolina distanced itself with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The Maryland charter spent an extra half-hour in a holding pattern above Raleigh-Durham International Airport during a storm Friday, but the Terps were down to earth on the game's opening possession. Last in the ACC in rushing, Maryland threw just once on an 11-play, 61-yard drive that finished with quarterback Brian Cummings operating the short-yardage offense on the last two plays and fellow redshirt freshman Brian Underwood getting the touchdown from the 2.

The Terps' offense needed to bat 1.000 to keep pace with the Tar Heels, who defensively took away the deep ball that burned them so often last year.

In Maryland's two previous games, Kevin Foley started and Milanovich came off the bench, but Foley's only work yesterday came when he held for place-kicker Joe O'Donnell. Milanovich was 22-for-33, but half his completions were to running backs or were laterals. Maryland was limited to 169 yards passing, and its longest completion was a 17-yarder.

"The only way that we could win was to throw a little bit, and to keep the ball away from their offense," said Milanovich.

Maryland ate up the clock, didn't commit a turnover and was called for only four penalties, but the Terps committed too many mistakes to stick with an opponent headed to its third straight bowl game.

The mistakes began after the Terps' first touchdown, when poor kick coverage allowed Marcus Wall a 65-yard return. Seven plays and 31 yards later, fullback Malcolm Marshall tied it with a 1-yard dive.

Wall was also involved when North Carolina went ahead for good. Cornerback A. J. Johnson took Stanicek's play-action fake that left Wall quite lonely on a 39-yard touchdown pass and run with 3:11 left in the first quarter.

On their fourth possession, the Terps had a fourth-and-one situation at midfield taken away when an offensive lineman jumped and they had to punt. Four plays later, soft coverage allowed Stanicek to complete a 16-yard pass to Darrin Ashford that triggered an 83-yard touchdown drive that gave the Tar Heels a 24-10 lead and broke the game open. O'Donnell's 25-yard field-goal try was blocked with 20 seconds to go in the half after Foley had to reach for a high snap from Corey Holobetz.

The Terps were revived by a 65-yard, third-quarter drive that ended with Cummings scoring from the 1 to cut the deficit to 27-17. O'Donnell followed with a well-placed onside kick, and Kevin Plank nearly won the loose ball at the Tar Heels' 46. Instead, North Carolina had another touchdown within five minutes.

"Obviously, the big problem today was trying to stop their offense," coach Mark Duffner said. "We anticipated a lot of inside runs, we practiced for it, but we were unable to make tackles when we had to."

NEXT FOR MARYLAND

Who: Georgia Tech.

When: Saturday, at Byrd Stadium.

Record: 1-5.

Yesterday: Lost to Virginia, 24-7.

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