Maryland opens by closing down James Madison Led by Barton, defense shuts out Div. I-AA Dukes for 3 quarters of 23-15 win

September 06, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Give Maryland quarterback Ken Mastrole a "C" for surviving a dismal first quarter and leading an impressive, 63-yard touchdown march in the third quarter.

Give the Terps' defense a "B" for virtually shutting down James Madison for three quarters.

But the only "A" last night went to senior linebacker Eric Barton, who took over the game in the second quarter when the Terps were clinging to a three-point lead against the Division I-AA Dukes.

Barton dominated the second quarter with two sacks, two tackles and a fumble recovery he returned for 16 yards, sending Maryland on its way to a 23-15 victory over James Madison in its season-opener before 36,547 at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland, which was 2-9 last year in coach Ron Vanderlinden's first season and lost its last six games, played before its largest home crowd since the final game of the 1995 season.

Barton's 16-yard return set up a 27-yard field goal by Brian Kopka for a 6-0 second-quarter lead. A third Kopka field goal in the first half made it 9-0 at halftime.

Barton has been called the best player on the Terps, and last night he lived up to that reputation. The Butkus Award candidate wound up with nine tackles.

"I have great confidence in our defense," said Barton. "Kendall [Ogle] and Rasheed [Simmons] were super, and our DBs showed great improvement since last year. I think we let down in the fourth quarter. That's what we have to work on to beat Virginia next week."

Meanwhile, Mastrole started slowly, and the Maryland offense did not move the ball for a first down until the second quarter. The Terps got two first-quarter first downs on James Madison penalties.

Mastrole was replaced for two plays late in the second quarter by freshman Randall Jones, who came in to run the option, picking up 3 yards on his first college football play. A second option run for a 3-yard loss was called back by a holding penalty.

"I wanted to get Randall in the game because we thought he would be more adept at running the option," Vanderlinden said. "But they picked that up and it really didn't work. But I'd like to get him in for a couple of series and give him a chance to run the offense in the future."

Mastrole did not distinguish himself until the start of the third quarter, when Maryland drove 63 yards for a touchdown and a 16-0 lead.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior completed three of four passes for 43 yards in the 63-yard march and finished 15 of 24 for 181 yards.

Sophomore fullback Matt Kalapinski went off right tackle from 1 yard to complete the drive with 9: 36 left in the third quarter.

A little more than a minute later, junior cornerback Lynde Washington picked off a sideline pass by Greg Maddox and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown and a 23-0 Maryland advantage.

The last time a Maryland player returned an interception for a touchdown was Oct. 28, 1989, when Mike Thomas went 26 yards for a score against North Carolina.

Washington had two interceptions last night, the first of his career and a much-needed performance to take some of the heat off the Maryland secondary.

James Madison broke up the shutout in the fourth quarter and made things interesting. Junior tailback Curtis Keaton scored on a 3-yard run with 1: 24 left and added the two-point conversion on a Maddox pass to Delvin Joyce, cutting the lead to 23-15.

The Dukes scored with five seconds gone in the fourth quarter when Maddox tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Fleshman on fourth-and-nine, completing a 16-play, 83-yard drive.

Vanderlinden said he didn't think his team's effort was anything to write home about.

The Terps played without talented sophomore tailback LaMont Jordan, who had an ankle injury.

However, the second-year coach expected more.

"We made a lot of first-game mistakes and all those technical mistakes," said Vanderlinden. "You say to yourself. 'We've worked against this, we've talked about it, we've practiced these scenarios,' but we still did things to hurt us."

NOTES: The Terps had seven freshmen or sophomores among their 22 offensive and defensive starters. Redshirt freshman linebacker Aaron Thompson had nine tackles and a sack of Maddox that caused a fumble. Thompson is from Mount St. Joseph.

Next for Maryland

Opponent: No. 16 Virginia

Site: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.

When: Saturday, noon

Record: 1-0

Thursday: Beat No. 25 Auburn, 19-0.

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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