Cowsette, UM defense toe the line Nose guard leads way, helps contain FSU attack

October 04, 1998|By Eduardo A. Encina | Eduardo A. Encina,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland nose guard Delbert Cowsette sat in a corner of the team's locker room and reflected on the matter at hand before yesterday's game against No. 9 Florida State. The only thing on his mind was the monumental task of shutting down the Seminoles' lethal offense.

"I just sat there and concentrated on the plays and what we Cowsette needed to do to beat Florida State. We knew this was a winnable game," Cowsette said. "We've been saying that all week in practice."

And when the Terps hit the field, Cowsette took matters into his own hands. He swarmed around the ball, pressured the line of scrimmage, and disrupted the Seminoles' running game, racking nine tackles, three for a loss.

Cowsette, a 6-foot-1 junior from Cleveland, anchored a defensive line that contained Florida State's rushing attack for the most part, and helped the Terps stay in the game against a team that has resoundingly thumped them in the past, though Maryland lost in the end, 24-10.

"It does a lot for my confidence and the line's confidence," Cowsette said. "We were pumped for this game and we had confidence going in. Before the game, we were trying to predict who was going to get the first sack, and we all wanted it. It showed in the way we played."

With Florida State leading 13-7 in the second quarter, Cowsette sprinted into the backfield and tackled tailback Jeff Chaney for a 5-yard loss. Eight plays later on second-and-10, he stuffed Chaney as he went over right tackle for no gain. An incomplete pass on the next play forced the Seminoles to settle for a field goal.

On the next Florida State possession, with the Seminoles driving, Cowsette stopped Chaney on first and second down up the middle for no gain.

Cowsette had a presence in the backfield throughout the game and drew praise from Terps coach Ron Vanderlinden.

"Del's got really great movement," Vanderlinden said. "He's very prideful. He really enjoys playing and I think we've got the chance to have one of the really fine nose guards in the ACC."

Said Cowsette: "I think I had a good game. But that's really all I can take from it. I had a good game but I would have felt better if we had won."

The Terps' effort helped boost the confidence of an inexperienced defensive line. Cowsette is the only lineman with starting experience, having started 11 games last year on a rushing defense that ranked eighth in the ACC. Before yesterday's game, the Terps ranked fourth in that category.

The Terps also got good efforts from ends Rasheed Simmons (five tackles, three for a loss) and Peter Timmins (four tackles). Now Cowsette is stepping up to the role of leader on a unit that is starting to mesh.

"All in all, this year we wanted it. We knew we could do it and we wanted it. Last year [against Florida State] half of us thought we could win and the other half really didn't," he said. "This year I took it upon myself to ask all the guys if they thought we could win and they all said yes."

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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