Terps scare FSU before falling, 24-10 5 field goals win it for No. 9 Seminoles

October 04, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Freshman quarterback Randall Jones won the hearts of Maryland fans yesterday with some breathtaking moves against ninth-ranked Florida State.

Combined with a solid defensive effort, Jones gave the Terps a chance to win the game with his speed and scrambling ability.

He came off the bench early in what was supposed to be another day of alternating with junior Ken Mastrole but performed so well that he virtually took the job away from Mastrole the rest of the afternoon.

But it was the perennial national power Seminoles who walked off the field with a 24-10 Atlantic Coast Conference victory before a charged-up crowd of 33,134 at Byrd Stadium.

It could go down as a moral victory for Maryland, which was a 27 1/2 -point underdog, but coach Ron Vanderlinden and his players refused to accept it.

"I told my players, 'Don't allow anybody to pat you on the back,' " Vanderlinden said, "because there's winning and losing and we didn't win. It's all about winning. That's what we're going to do. We're going to win here. I'm disappointed we didn't win this game."

Florida State (4-1, 2-1) didn't exactly do any victory dances because the talent-laden Seminoles had to rely on five field goals from sophomore Sebastian Janikowski to win the game.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Janikowski tied a school single-game record with the five field goals, equaling the mark set by Bill Capece against Pittsburgh on Oct. 11, 1980.

Janikowski's field goals of 27, 47, 48, 23 and 36 yards made the loss all that much harder for Maryland (2-3, 0-2) to take.

The Terps practiced all week to slow down the explosive Florida State offense and to hold off its blitzing defense. Maryland performed well enough in both of those areas to win the game.

But in the end, the difference was the 15 points on field goals.

What's this?

A Florida State team that has crushed Maryland by an average score of 54.5-15.8 and rolled up an average of 631 yards total offense in the past six meetings needed a kicker to win the game?

"We had to settle for field goals and that's not our offense," said Seminoles quarterback Chris Weinke. "We didn't play the way we should. We didn't take them seriously."

For a few fleeting minutes early in the second half, it looked as if Jones and Maryland might have a chance to pull off a miracle.

Florida State was clinging to a 16-10 lead and an inspired Maryland defense had stopped the Seminoles at the Terps' 35-yard line, forcing a Keith Cottrell punt into the end zone.

With Maryland players waving their arms in the air to excite the fans, the place was roaring as Jones ducked under center.

But Maryland had to give up the ball when Russ Edwards' pass to Aaron Thompson off a fake punt on fourth-and-nine at the Maryland 31 gained only 5 yards.

The Maryland defense made another strong stand, prompting another Cottrell punt that was downed at the Terps' 1-yard line.

But on second-and-eight at the 3-yard line, Jones rolled right on the option and fumbled on an attempted pitchout.

Guard Jamie Wu recovered for Maryland in the end zone for a safety that gave Florida State an 18-10 lead with 8: 20 left in the third quarter. The Terps never seemed to be the same after that.

Vanderlinden was unusually intense on the sideline and screamed at the officials in the fourth quarter until they ruled that Maryland's Cliff Crosby had in fact recovered a fumble by Peter Warrick at the Florida State 32 after an Edwards punt.

At first, the officials indicated that Crosby had not given Warrick the necessary 2 yards to catch the ball and they were going to wave off the recovery.

"They finally realized that Cliff got clipped the 2 yards into Warrick," Vanderlinden said.

But like so many other times in the game, Maryland couldn't take advantage of the break and gave up the ball when Mastrole came off the bench and threw an interception on fourth-and-14 at the Florida State 36-yard line.

Maryland was still in the fight, down 24-10, when Mastrole was intercepted by Tay Cody with 6: 20 left in the game.

Florida State would then run the clock down to 36 seconds left in the game before turning the ball back to Maryland on a punt.

Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden wasn't pleased with his offense.

"It's easy to see what our problems are," Bowden said. "It's in the red zone. We just can't do it. We've got to do it or we're not going to be in any more ballgames. But Maryland just wouldn't go away."

Bowden was upset over Warrick's performance on punt returns. He fumbled twice, with Crosby recovering both.

Maryland did not capitalize on either one, with the first Crosby recovery coming early in the first quarter at the Seminoles' 22 and with the Terps down 7-0.

Weinke did not wow anybody again for Florida State, but he did complete 16 of 32 for 261 yards and one touchdown.

The one scoring pass, just 2: 30 into the game, was the Seminoles' only touchdown, and that made Vanderlinden proud.

"Our kids stood toe-to-toe with them," he said. "We just need to step up and make some big plays on our own. That will come."

Jones didn't have great stats (6-for-14 for 46 yards and one touchdown; six carries for a net of 10 yards), but his presence on the option kept Florida State off-balance.

And even though Jones appears to have an edge on Mastrole, Vanderlinden said he'd make a decision on next week's starter late in the week, probably on Friday.

Next for Maryland

Opponent: Clemson

Site: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C.

When: Saturday, noon

Record: 1-4

Yesterday: Lost to UNC, 21-14

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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