Terps fall to Wake Forest, continue slide Maryland can't recover from listless first half, suffers 20-10 setback

October 18, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland football players keep saying they are a different team from the one that folded down the stretch last season and finished 2-9.

But the Terps backed themselves deeper into a corner yesterday with a 20-10 loss to a Wake Forest team that came to town with less-than-intimidating credentials.

Even the 1973 Maryland Peach Bowl team showed more emotion at halftime when it was honored than the current team displayed in the first half.

NFL Hall of Famer Randy White and his '73 teammates carried former coach Jerry Claiborne off the field in a burst of energy that left Claiborne crying with happiness as he attempted to speak to his former players.

However, there was no happiness surrounding current Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden and his players after a third straight loss dropped them to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Vanderlinden was upset because his secondary waited until the second half to "line up and play with confidence against their receivers."

Freshman Maryland quarterback Randall Jones was disappointed he only got to run the option twice but even more disturbed at himself for throwing a critical interception late in the game that virtually doomed Maryland's chances of winning.

Sophomore tailback LaMont Jordan, who rushed for 132 yards but no touchdowns, talked with anguish about coming close several times to breaking a long one for a score.

Defensive end Peter Timmins was seething over "all the little things" that keep preventing the Terps from fulfilling their potential.

But the bottom line is Maryland has to finish with four straight victories to salvage the season and placate the seniors who want to go out as winners.

Standing in the way are No. 25 Georgia Tech in two weeks at Ravens stadium, unpredictable North Carolina State at home and road games against North Carolina and Duke.

Yesterday, Jones' youth came sharply into focus in the fourth quarter when he threw an ill-advised pass into triple coverage back into the middle of the field while running toward the left sideline.

The pass was intercepted by Wake Forest junior strong safety DaLawn Parrish at the Maryland 28-yard line with 5: 38 seconds left in the game and the Terps trailing 17-10.

The interception by Parrish, who went to Howard High, set up a 34-yard field goal by Matthew Burdick a little more than two minutes later for a 20-10 lead.

Parrish said he and the Deacons had some extra incentive yesterday because Terps senior linebacker Kendall Ogle said this week, "I hate Wake Forest. I guess it's because they beat us up pretty good down there last year [35-17] and talked trash to us."

Parrish said, "That was definitely an extra. We posted Kendall Ogle's comments on the locker room wall all week long. Maybe he has every right to hate us. For us to beat them two straight years, I'd probably hate us, too."

After the field goal, Vanderlinden turned to strong-armed Ken Mastrole in another late attempt to pull out a victory, but once again the junior quarterback could not put any points on the scoreboard.

Jones, making his second collegiate start, made two critical mistakes that contributed to the loss.

In addition to the late interception, an ill-timed pitchout by Jones early in the third quarter was recovered by the Deacons' Mat Petz at Wake's 39.

"I was trying to make something happen," said Jones of the interception. "You never throw the ball in the opposite direction of your momentum, but I did. It was a young mistake, but I can't let it happen again. I have to go out there and move the team and make the right plays."

Jones said he wasn't upset over being pulled near the end of the game, but he did call for more option plays.

"We have to try the option more," he said. "I'm best at running the ball outside but we only tried two options today."

Vanderlinden said Jones will start against Georgia Tech.

"Randall Jones makes good decisions with the ball and he'll continue to make good decisions," said Vanderlinden. "He had the tight end open on the play but things like that are going to happen."

Wake Forest (3-3, 2-1) jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first half behind the prolific passing combination of senior quarterback Brian Kuklick and 6-foot-3, 238-pound senior wide receiver Desmond Clark.

Kuklick completed 12 of 16 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, with scoring tosses of 26 yards and 9 yards coming to Clark.

Clark caught six passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and finished the afternoon with eight receptions for 112 yards.

Clark, who has caught 200 career passes, surpassed former Maryland receiver Jermaine Lewis (193) on the ACC's all-time pass receiving list yesterday.

Kuklick wound up completing 22 of 34 for 225 yards and two touchdowns and moved into eighth place on the ACC career passing yardage list with 6,665 yards.

Next for Maryland

Opponent: No. 25 Georgia Tech

Site: Ravens stadium

When: Oct. 31, noon or 3: 30 p.m.

Record: 5-1

Yesterday: Beat No. 7 Virginia, 41-38.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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