Clemson slams Terps back to earth, 35-3 Sorry 113-yard effort ends win streak, leaves Duffner facing another losing year

November 03, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Mark Duffner wondered where the blocking was. He implored his defense to be proud. All things considered, it was not the way Duffner envisioned spending the biggest game of his five years at Maryland.

The Terps came to Death Valley with a modest two-game winning streak, but went home embarrassed again. Clemson pounded Maryland, 35-3, before 60,000 at Memorial Stadium, and to achieve a winning season, the Terps will need a bigger miracle than Bob Dole on Tuesday.

Duffner stomached the queasy effort from a somber bench, while athletic director Debbie Yow was a displeased press box observer. She will not comment on the performance of her coaches during the season, but Duffner, whose contract is guaranteed through 1997, hasn't picked up any bargaining strength for an extension.

"Our execution was not at the level we had to have against this team," Duffner said.

It's a quote he could have used in Maryland's three previous meetings with Clemson, which all ended in shutout victories for the Tigers. At least this time the Terps scored, but even Joe O'Donnell's 35-yard field goal was hardly earned the old-fashioned way. It followed a punt that bounced off the helmet of a Clemson player and to Maryland.

That made it 14-3 midway through the second quarter. Maryland backs lost fumbles at the Clemson 31 and 1 in the second half, but the Terps were limited to 113 yards, their second-worst performance ever under Duffner.

The outcome pretty much locked up Maryland's fourth losing record under Duffner, the lone winning season being last year's 6-5 mark. His overall record is 19-34, and he still hasn't reached the 20 wins that predecessor Joe Krivak got in his five years.

The Terps (4-5, 2-4) play their last home game Nov. 14, against Georgia Tech, then conclude the season against No. 3 Florida State. Last year Yow sold that home game to a promoter for a hefty guarantee, and it will be played at Pro Player Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

The Georgia Tech test is ESPN's Thursday night game, and the Terps have gone into a shell on network television. Yesterday's debacle was a regional telecast on ABC, and it made the Terps 0-4 on network television during the past two seasons. In those four games, their offense has totaled one touchdown and two field goals.

Maryland's offense is so adrift in the doldrums against Clemson that even the Tigers' defense outscored the Terps yesterday.

Clemson drove 52 yards on its second possession for a 7-0 lead, and it was doubled later in the first quarter, when Brian Cummings missed badly on a curl pattern to Walt Williams. The pass instead went right to cornerback Peter Ford, who danced down the right sideline 66 yards for an insurance touchdown.

Cummings, who had missed a win at Duke because of the aftereffects of a concussion he suffered Oct. 19, knew this one was over after Maryland's first three plays. On first down, end Trevor Pryce dumped him for an 8-yard loss. On third down, Brett Williams, the other end, pushed him back another 12 yards.

"That kind of set the tone," said Cummings, who was supposed to benefit from extra blockers. "They're [Clemson] just better. They flat-out manhandled us. Once they were getting pressure on max protection passes, I knew were in trouble."

Cummings was sacked eight times for 66 yards in losses.

While the Terps played aimlessly, Clemson (5-3, 4-2) won its third straight and continued its push for one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's four bowl berths.

Maryland tackle Johnnie Hicks knocked quarterback Nealon Greene out of the game with a shoulder sprain midway through the third quarter, but that didn't slow the Tigers, who got two more touchdowns with freshman Billy Luckie under center.

"I thought our players looked like they were on a mission," coach Tommy West said.

The Terps were tagged to finish sixth in the ACC by the Atlantic Coast Sportswriters Association. They had bigger plans, but they aren't talking big anymore.

"We've definitely underachieved," Cummings said. "Maybe our expectations were too high. Even if they were we just flat-out got our [butt] kicked."

Maryland 0 3 0 0 -- 3

Clemson 14 7 7 7 -- 35

Pub Date: 11/03/96

Death Valley daze

Maryland hasn't scored a touchdown at Clemson since 1991 and hasn't won there since 1985. A look at the Terps' recent futility against the Tigers.

Year Site ... Winner

1985 Clem. .. Maryland, 34-31

1986 Balt. .. Tie, 17-17

1987 Clem. .. Clemson, 45-16

1988 Md. .... Clemson, 49-25

1989 Clem. .. Clemson, 31-7

1990 Balt. .. Clemson, 18-17

1991 Clem. .. Clemson, 40-7

1992 Md. .... Maryland, 53-23

1993 Clem. .. Clemson, 29-0

1994 Clem. .. Clemson, 13-0

1995 Md. .... Clemson, 17-0

1996 Clem. .. Clemson, 35-3

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