Terps get cut in half, 50-7 1st-half air show flies No. 5 Fla. State over stunned Maryland

September 14, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Forty-three points, 454 yards and a decade's worth of mystique.

That was the gulf separating Maryland and Florida State at steamy Doak Campbell Stadium yesterday. Coach Ron Vanderlinden's introduction to the Atlantic Coast Conference happened to be against college football's winningest team of the decade, and a 50-7 Seminoles stomping was an ugly reminder of how far removed the Terps are from the game's elite.

When Vanderlinden was hired last December, he made Florida State the standard to which Maryland would aspire. If yesterday's game was the measuring stick that Vanderlinden said it was, the Terps have returned to where they were five years ago. In 1992, Maryland suffered its worst ACC loss when Florida State won, 69-21.

That was the first season at Maryland for Mark Duffner, the coach Vanderlinden replaced.

Coming off a disheartening season-opening loss to Ohio that quickly made Maryland re-evaluate its plans, this one only deepened the misery.

Were the Terps beaten before they even started? Were they not just dealing with the nation's No. 5 team, but the cockiness that emanates from coach Bobby Bowden and 10 straight 10-win seasons?

"Obviously, that's a factor," Vanderlinden said. "I thought our players were ready to play. Obviously, they weren't."

If this were a boxing match, it would have been stopped in the first round, as Florida State (2-0, 1-0) scored on its first six possessions.

In its opener, Maryland (0-2, 0-1) fell to a team that couldn't throw. Yesterday, the Terps were beaten by a team that wouldn't run, as Bowden exploited the 97-degree temperature and his team's superior depth to make the game as long as possible.

Florida State surprised Maryland by resurrecting its "Fast Break" offense, as senior quarterback Thad Busby came out in the no-huddle, shotgun formation. Offense coordinator Mark Richt didn't call for a run until the Seminoles' 10th play.

Busby threw for 308 yards in the first half and could have threatened the ACC record -- 545 by Rusty LaRue of Wake Forest in 1995 against North Carolina State -- but Bowden emptied his bench.

Bowden even went to his third quarterback before Vanderlinden subbed for Brian Cummings.

Cummings, a senior, was chased across the state by the Seminoles, who sacked him eight times at Pro Player Stadium in South Florida last year, and five times yesterday.

Most of the crowd of 72,238 was gone by the time Dan Kendra relieved Busby, as many took advantage of the blowout to resume their tailgate party and rehydrate. There was no respite for the Terps, who gave up 30 straight points over the final 33 minutes.

"Our coaches told us that Maryland was going from the bottom up, playing a lot of freshmen and that their program had a ways to go," cornerback Samari Rolle said. "We pretty much wanted to take hope away from them early."

That was accomplished with a 12-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that required only 4: 07 on the game's first possession. Busby almost doubled in passing yards in the first quarter (203) what the Terps would have in total offense (105) in the game.

Even Kendra's passing yardage matched Maryland's total offense, as the loose-tackling Terps were out-gained 559 yards to 105.

Busby picked on Maryland's inexperienced secondary, which at one time included first-year players Tony Jackson at free safety, redshirt freshman Lynde Washington at one corner and transfer Bryn Boggs at the other. To compound the trouble, the Terps' veteran front line on defense was either too weary or too overmatched to apply pressure.

"Busby must have played very well because you need a running game and today it was pass, pass, pass," said Bowden, who saw Dee Feaster, his starting tailback carry only three times. "I think any quarterback probably throws better from the shotgun, but [Busby] did a very good job of picking the receivers."

The Seminoles, by the way, started three freshmen on the line on offense and played 33 freshmen.

Florida State middle linebacker Daryl Bush (ankle sprain) also took off the afternoon, but the absence of one of the nation's top middle linebackers was hardly noticed, as Maryland produced a total of 6 yards on its first three possessions.

Adding injury to insult, the Terps finished with their two most talented tailbacks in the trainer's room.

LaMont Jordan momentarily slowed the embarrassment with a nice 44-yard touchdown run on a simple off-tackle play with 5: 54 left in the first half, but the first-year player from Suitland High was finished on Maryland's next play, when he injured a knee. He'll miss at least the next two games.

Earlier in the second quarter, starter Buddy Rodgers left with bruised ribs.

Next up is No. 7 North Carolina.

The Tar Heels (2-0) have just about everyone back on a defense that was ranked first in the nation last year. And they are coming off a 28-17 victory over No. 17 Stanford yesterday.

"We've got a long way to go," Vanderlinden said.

Annual rout

Maryland has lost by an average of 38.7 points in six meetings with Florida State in this decade and is 0-8 overall, its worst record against any school:

Yr. .. .. ..Site .. .. .. .. .. ..Result

'92 .. ...Tallahassee .. .. ..FSU, 69-21

'93 .. ...College Park .. .. .FSU, 49-20

.. ...College Park .. .. .FSU, 52-20

.. ...Tallahassee .. .. ..FSU, 59-17

'96 .. ...Miami .. .. .. .. ..FSU, 48-10

'97 .. ...Tallahassee .. .. ..FSU, 50-7

Next for Maryland

Opponent: North Carolina

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Noon, Saturday

Record: 2-0 Yesterday: The No. 7 Tar Heels defeated No. 17 Stanford, 28-17, at Chapel Hill, N.C.

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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