Terps save face, but still lose game N.C. State prevails, 45-28, after building 31-0 lead

November 09, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ron Vanderlinden lingered on Maryland's most productive half of the season.

The coach doesn't want to ponder what preceded it.

The Terps lost at N.C. State, 45-28, yesterday, and it could have been worse. The Wolfpack rang up a 31-0 lead and Maryland had been outscored 89-0 over three dismal Saturdays, before the Terps decided that they didn't want to suffer one more total embarrassment and made a belated rally.

"We had to prove to ourselves that when we got down, we weren't just going to pack it in," tailback LaMont Jordan said.

Jordan set a school freshman record for most rushing yards in ::TC season, and Maryland got its season scoring high, but the Terps (2-8, 1-6) were never really in this game and suffered their fifth straight loss.

Both teams came into this Atlantic Coast Conference game with four-game losing streaks, but the Wolfpack (4-5, 2-5) still has plenty at stake.

If N.C. State can win its last two games, it has an outside shot at going to the Carquest Bowl, and bringing back coach Mike O'Cain for a sixth season.

The Wolfpack came out with a purpose, while Maryland looked like it was still stuck in the funk it was in last week when it was ripped by Virginia, 45-0. After 21 minutes, N.C. State had out-gained the Terps, 192 yards to 10.

Rookie mistakes have been a recurring theme in Vanderlinden's first season, but errors by Maryland veterans figured in four of N.C. State's first five touchdowns, and allowed the Wolfpack to take a 38-7 lead a little more than a minute into the third quarter.

N.C. State became the fourth straight Maryland opponent to score a touchdown on its first possession. A five-play, 55-yard drive finished with a 27-yard pass over the middle to fullback Carlos King, who was left uncovered by outside linebacker Kendall Ogle.

There was little urgency to a linebacker blitz early in the second quarter, which sophomore quarterback Jamie Barnette turned into an 11-yard scramble and a 21-0 lead. The gap grew to 31-0 with 1: 20 left in the half, when senior quarterback Brian Cummings threw right into the arms of linebacker Morocco Brown, who returned the interception 30 yards for a touchdown.

On the third play of the second half, strong safety Henry Baker put a hand tackle on tailback Tremayne Stephens, who shrugged it off and ran 76 yards for another easy touchdown.

"I don't know why we came up short the way we did these last two weeks," Ogle said.

Vanderlinden said he appealed to his players' "pride and integrity," at the intermission. The Terps scored three touchdowns in the second half, as many as they had after the break in their first nine games combined.

The first -- on a 4-yard run by Buddy Rodgers -- was fed by Maryland's first completion to a quarterback in 13 years, as Cummings handed off to Rodgers, who threw back to him for a 38-yard gain.

Rodgers scored again, on a 23-yard pass which was tipped by an N.C. State cornerback. The last touchdown came on a fourth-down gamble, when Omar Cheeseboro hauled in a 31-yard pass from Cummings.

Jordan ran for 126 yards and has 592 for the season.

Next for Maryland

Opponent: Georgia Tech

Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta

When: Nov. 22, time TBA

Record: 4-4

Yesterday: Lost to Virginia, 35-31

Pub Date: 11/09/97

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