UM return spoiled by Ga. Tech's White's 100-yard dash stuns Terps, crashes Baltimore party, 31-14

Jackets score 17 in third

Terps not 'same team' after return tied it 7-7

November 01, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Maryland's hopes for a storybook football return to Baltimore were crushed yesterday by Georgia Tech and speedy Dez White, 31-14, at Ravens stadium.

White trashed a promising Terps script a little more than two minutes into the game when he took a kickoff near the goal line and made an electrifying 100-yard dash for a tying touchdown.

White went virtually untouched all the way down the left sideline to wipe out a dramatic Maryland start on a perfect fall afternoon before a disappointing crowd of 25,183.

Maryland kicker Brian Kopka had barely a prayer of catching White 30 yards from the goal line and the thin 5-foot-8 sophomore never got within 5 yards of the gifted kick returner and split end.

White, a 6-1, 214-pound sophomore, touched the ball six times yesterday and came off the field with 197 yards in the Atlantic Coast Conference encounter. He returned three kickoffs for 156 yards and one touchdown and caught three passes for 41 yards.

White's 100-yard return enabled No. 23 Tech (6-2, 5-1) to tie the score at 7 and nullified an encouraging beginning for the young ** Terps. Defensive end Peter Timmins had intercepted a lateral by quarterback Joe Hamilton and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown just 1: 46 into the game.

When Timmins made the big play the Terps have been looking for all season, it looked as if their fortunes may have finally turned.

But seconds later, disaster struck a snakebitten Maryland team that just can't seem to avoid finding new ways to lose.

L This time it was White who kept the game close until Georgia

Tech, which was coming off a 34-7 loss to Florida State, could get rolling with 17 third-quarter points that broke up a 14-14 tie.

When Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden was asked if he could change any one play in the game, he said, "I wouldn't have kicked the ball to Dez White on that kickoff."

Vanderlinden added: "We played two teams today. One was Georgia Tech, who I thought we could beat, and we played ourselves. Except for a couple of horrible tackles, our defense was sensational but our offense didn't make the plays."

Even Maryland's eternal optimist, senior linebacker Eric Barton, displayed some gloom.

"The season hasn't turned out like I expected," said Barton, who has vowed for weeks that the Terps would find a way to start winning. "But it isn't over yet."

The loss in Maryland's first appearance in Baltimore since 1991 left the Terps with a 1-5-2 record in this city. Maryland recorded its only win here in 1984 with a 41-23 victory over Clemson.

The fourth straight setback also ended any hopes Maryland (2-6) had of a winning season and dropped it deeper into the Atlantic Coast Conference basement with an 0-5 record.

Even though Maryland freshman quarterback Randall Jones would come back late in the first quarter with a 40-yard run down the left side for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead to answer White, some of the spirit had been taken out of the team.

"One play by White didn't beat us," Timmins said. "But it didn't seem like we were the same team after that big return. It's just another case of something going wrong to keep us from living up to our potential."

Vanderlinden said his team is no longer losing simply because of its youth but due to a "lack of maturity which is causing the mistakes."

The second-year coach was upset by some shoddy tackling and a missed tackle on a 44-yard touchdown run by backup tailback Joe Burns in the third quarter for a 21-14 lead.

Maryland senior cornerback Cliff Crosby had a good shot at Burns at the 25-yard line, but tried to arm tackle him, allowing Burns to go the rest of the way to score what proved to be the deciding touchdown with 6: 35 left in the third quarter.

There was nothing pretty at all about the touchdown run by Burns.

First the quarterback, Hamilton, nearly stumbled and fell as he rolled out on the option and then Burns juggled the ball before taking off.

That all made the play slow to develop but still the Maryland defense could not stop the freshman, who had 179 yards rushing on 20 carries in relief of Phillip Rogers, Tech's leading rusher, who was limited to 11 carries by a bruised shoulder.

It was the third best single-game effort in Georgia Tech history by a true freshman. Jerry Mays was the last one to rush for 100 yards in 1985 against Western Carolina.

"We needed someone to step up and he did that," Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said of Burns.

"We took Maryland too lightly," admitted Hamilton (11-for-26 for 118 yards), who said a hip pointer limited him to only 75 percent. "We thought we could show up and Maryland would roll over and let us beat them, and that didn't happen."

The Yellow Jackets took the 21-14 lead a little less than two minutes after Kopka missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt that would have given the home team a 17-14 lead.

After falling behind, Maryland made another major mistake on the first play after receiving the kickoff.

Jones (4-for-15 throwing for 27 yards) completed a 5-yard pass to Jason Hatala at the 35-yard line. When Hatala tried to churn upfield for more yardage, he fumbled and Georgia Tech tackle Guenter Kryszon recovered at the Maryland 36. Five plays later, Brad Chambers kicked a 38-yard field goal for a 24-14 lead.

It was the only field goal Chambers converted out of five tries.

The Terps' lack of an air attack did not go unnoticed.

"Our biggest nemesis is getting things going with our passing game," Vanderlinden said. "We run the ball well enough to win, but we have to find a passing attack."

Georgia Tech 7 7 17 0 -- 31

* Maryland ...14 0 0 0 -- 14

Next for Maryland

Opponent: North Carolina

Site: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, N.C.

When: Saturday, noon

Record: 3-4

7+ Yesterday: Lost to Florida State, 39-13

Pub Date: 11/03/98

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