Two-year record is a plus for Duffner But Ga. Tech is only win vs. team with winning mark

Maryland notebook

November 20, 1996|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Mark Duffner's days at Maryland could be numbered, but he won't be completely at a loss for points in his favor when he discusses his tenure with athletic director Debbie Yow at the conclusion of the season.

A 13-10 victory over Georgia Tech last Thursday moved the Terps to 5-5 overall. They were 6-5 last year, and the 11 wins over a two-season stretch are the best at Maryland since 1984-85, when it went 18-6 and was unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"I just think that shows that the program is moving forward and improving," Duffner said.

Maryland concludes its season Saturday (3: 30 p.m.) against No. 3 Florida State at Pro Player Park in Fort Lauderdale. The Terps are 35-point underdogs, which does not bode well for Duffner, who might need a winning season to avoid being fired and having the final year of his contract bought out.

Despite their successes of the last two seasons, the Terps have had few marquee wins. Since September 1995, the only team with a winning record that Maryland has beaten is Georgia Tech (5-4).

Maryland's other victories this season are over Northern Illinois (1-10), one of the lowest-rated Division I-A teams in the nation; Alabama-Birmingham (4-6), which has two wins over Division I-AA teams; Wake Forest (3-7) and Duke (0-10), which is headed to the first 0-11 season in ACC history.

Not so classic

When Maryland sold the rights to its home game against Florida State to the Carquest Bowl for $1 million last year, administrators talked about the lure of making at least $400,000 more than they would if the game had been played at Byrd Stadium, and several hundreds of thousands of dollars more if the game drew a large crowd.

The Restore Football Classic is drawing minimal interest, however, both in Tallahassee, home of the Seminoles, and South Florida, where the game will be played.

Mitch Morrall, a spokesman for the Carquest Bowl, said that organizers are hopeful that Saturday's game will attract 40,000 fans, but it could draw as few as 30,000. It will be Florida State's second appearance in South Florida this season, its eighth game in-state, and there will be Division I-A competition at the Orange Bowl, where Miami will play Boston College.

The entire state is gearing up for next week's game in Tallahassee between Florida State and No. 1 Florida. Florida State coach Bobby Bowden spent an hour Sunday talking about the Gators, and canceled practice Monday to rest his team.

Sentimental journey?

Geroy Simon, the senior wide receiver from Johnstown, Pa., had just one reception in the Georgia Tech game and remains 12 behind former teammate Jermaine Lewis' ACC record of 193 career catches. Simon tied an ACC single-game record last year at Florida State, when he had 16 catches in a 59-17 loss to the Seminoles.

Simon had a diminished role against Georgia Tech. The Maryland offense, meanwhile, again will be without running back Buddy Rodgers, who has been hampered all season by a thigh injury.

Gore finished

Lamont Gore, the senior free safety out of DeMatha High, remains suspended and will not play against Florida State. He is the fifth player suspended by Duffner this season, most for violations the coach declined to discuss.

Pub Date: 11/20/96

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