Kopka wins ACC award for rookies Terps kicker follows Jordan as league honoree

October 07, 1997|By Paul McMullen

Maryland is gaining a monopoly on the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Week award. Last week, it was tailback LaMont Jordan; this week, it's Brian Kopka, the freshman kicker who had three field goals in a 16-10 win over Duke.

"Kopka stepping up for us was huge," first-year coach Ron Vanderlinden said.

Vanderlinden declined to say whether Jordan would get his first start Saturday (1 p.m.), when Maryland (2-3) plays its final nonconference game, against West Virginia (4-1). Senior Buddy Rodgers, who was the starter before suffering a rib injury at Florida State on Sept. 13, returned against Duke, but as a blocking back.

"The decision on who starts won't get made until later in the week," Vanderlinden said.

The Duke game drew only 23,206, and Vanderlinden said he would like to see more Maryland fans attend the West Virginia game. The Mountaineers are 10-point favorites, but the Terps won their last meeting at Byrd Stadium, and Maryland can move to .500 for the first time this season with its third straight win.

"I'm appealing to the Maryland faithful," Vanderlinden said. "West Virginia travels well, and we need some red in the stands."

Maryland continues to rank near the bottom of the ACC in most statistical categories, but the Terps are fifth in the nation in turnover ratio. The Terps didn't turn the ball over against Duke, thanks in part to the installation of the shotgun.

"My fan mail suggested it," Vanderlinden said jokingly. "Really, it's something we wanted to get to earlier, but you can only go through what your players can absorb."

Pub Date: 10/07/97

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