2-8 Terps seek repeat of Georgia Tech history Motivation now is spoiling Yellow Jackets' bowl hopes

November 20, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Georgia Tech needs a win to further its bowl hopes, but what will be Maryland's motivation Saturday, when the teams meet in Atlanta?

Lewis Sanders, the sophomore free safety who has been one of the brightest spots for the Terps this long and unfulfilling season, pondered the question at length before coming up with an answer.

"Look at last year," Sanders said. "What we did to them then, hopefully we can do the same."

The Terps began to ground the Yellow Jackets' bowl prospects last season, beating them, 13-10, in what was coach Mark Duffner's final game at Byrd Stadium. Maryland closes out a dismal 2-8 campaign Saturday, and first-year coach Ron Vanderlinden had one eye on Georgia Tech and the other on 1998 during an untimely bye week.

"We structured last week as if we were going to a bowl game," Vanderlinden said. "We'll have seven practices [between games], and that's half of a spring ball. I send the older guys in after an hour and a half, and work with the younger guys, to give us a head start on the off-season."

Vanderlinden isn't ready to write off his senior class just yet. Brian Cummings will get one last start at quarterback, and Vanderlinden said he isn't planning any changes to a lineup already bogged down by youth and injuries.

Maryland was in six of its first eight games, but the Terps were blown out early by Virginia and N.C. State in their past two. Maryland's offense is among the worst in the nation, and it needed a strong second half just to get its yards-per-game average up to 257.

Georgia Tech (5-4, 4-3) is one of four teams in the running for the Atlantic Coast Conference's last two bowl bids, but neither the Yellow Jackets, Clemson, Virginia or N.C. State have yet to reach the NCAA requirement of six wins over Division I-A opponents.

NOTES: The 3: 30 p.m. game will be a regional telecast on ABC (Chs. 2, 7). Maryland is 0-4 at Georgia Tech. LaMont Jordan easily tops the Terps in rushing, and if Moises Cruz (25 catches, 296 yards) stays ahead in the receptions category, it will be the first time in Maryland history that freshmen will be the statistical leaders in both of those categories. Jordan has 592 yards, and his 59.2 average per game is fourth best in the ACC.

Pub Date: 11/20/97

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