Duffner mum on QB choice Milanovich eligible, but Cummings 4-0

September 25, 1995|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Maryland football coach Mark Duffner is tight-lipped regarding the starting quarterback for Thursday night's game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Duffner must decide whether to stay with redshirt sophomore Brian Cummings, who has led Maryland (4-0) to its best start since 1978, or turn the offense over to Scott Milanovich, a record-setting senior who was suspended for the first four games for gambling on college athletics.

Has Duffner made up his mind?

"I haven't had a chance to sit down with the players and coaches and go over the Duke game," he said last night.

Will he make an announcement today?

"I'm not going to say," he said.

Does he want to keep Georgia Tech guessing?

"We're not going to talk about that," he said.

What factors will go into the decision?

"I'll get into that when we make the announcement," Duffner said, trying to close the book on a story that has gotten more interesting with each impressive victory by the Terps.

Maryland finished a three-game homestand with a 41-28 conquest of Duke on Saturday, which improved the Terps from No. 24 to No. 17 in the Associated Press rankings. It was their closest call of the year, and it featured a strong game by Cummings, who passed for 299 yards and ran for 22. The Terps piled up 544 yards, their highest total in two years.

After a 48-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Brian James put Maryland on top 21-3, Cummings stood at midfield and got on his tiptoes to butt chests with left guard Pat Ward.

"I'm in the glory of my life," Cummings said. "I played OK the first few games, but everything was clicking tonight. I don't know what's going to happen [at Georgia Tech]. That's out of my power. I've done everything I could."

With Cummings at quarterback, Maryland has three straight wins over teams that went to bowl games last season, and equaled its win total in the Atlantic Coast Conference of the past four seasons. A defense that has come of age, a solid kicking game and a newfound running attack have been the key components in the turnaround.

"When we were 2-0, 3-0, people were still doubting us," Cummings said. "Now we're 4-0, and people are still going to doubt. They just don't believe what's going on in College Park."

While Cummings, a third-teamer last year, revels in the attention, Milanovich has been shielded from the media since announcing in mid-July that he would return for an abbreviated senior season rather than apply for the NFL's supplemental draft.

"Scott has had some down times, but I think he's handled it pretty well," said Gary Milanovich, his father. "If the team would have lost while he was away, he would have felt responsible. When they win, he's not a part of it. He's just tried to stay mentally ready."

Cummings, Milanovich and the rest of the Terps have just three more days to prepare for Georgia Tech, and the short week is compounded by the fact that the Yellow Jackets (1-2, 0-1) have been idle since a 41-18 loss at Virginia on Sept. 16. Maryland hasn't won in its past three trips to Atlanta.

Five of the Terps' last seven games are on the road, where they won only once last year.

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