Defense leading the way for Terps

MARYLAND NOTEBOOK

In past four games, unit has allowed 27 points

Suter to put off surgery

College Football

October 05, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - After yesterday's dominating performance in a 21-7 victory over a solid Clemson team, Maryland's defense has permitted 27 points and an average of fewer than 225 yards of total offense in its last four games, and the latter figure rose only because the Tigers passed for 320 yards and scored their only touchdown on a 70-yard bomb.

"We're trying to start a tradition of shutting people out every weekend," said linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who paced Maryland with nine tackles, including one of the team's four sacks. "And every week it surprises me. Somebody does something spectacular."

The Terrapins' defense shackled all hints of a running game by the Tigers, holding them to minus-14 yards on 13 carries in the first half and plus-10 yards for the game. That was the fewest allowed on the ground by the team since Nov. 3, 2001, when Troy State finished with minus-1.

Clemson - a strong passing team with Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback - did much better in the the air, but only on the touchdown did it hurt the Terps.

"The defense was outstanding," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen. "They're [Clemson] very talented at wide receiver, and our defensive staff made them look one-dimensional. They stopped the run and made them throw."

Between plays, Whitehurst spent a lot of time looking to his sideline for directions from his coaches, then calling audibles before the plays were started.

"He was doing a lot of checking," said Terps cornerback Domonique Foxworth (Western Tech). "At times he didn't know what to expect. It seemed like he was confused for most of the game."

It was a well-rested Tigers squad coming off a bye week after a 39-3 rout of Georgia Tech, but one that often seemed like it needed more time to prepare for Maryland's unpredictable defensive schemes.

In the second half, Clemson was twice denied on fourth-and-one situations deep inside Maryland territory.

"You have to give a lot of credit to their front four," said Whitehurst. "They stopped the run and pressured me pretty good. Their secondary is definitely strong, but I think if we could've run the ball a little better we could've loosened them up."

Said Jackson: "If a team can't run, I feel they can't win. We've got one of the best secondaries in the country. We put in a couple new blitzes, a couple new wrinkles and they worked. We shook Whitehurst up."

"They're throwing the ball on fourth-and-one?" asked Foxworth. "You can't say how much respect they must have for us up front. That's just respect our defense is starting to get."

Suter to wait on surgery

Steve Suter (North Carroll) may now postpone the knee surgery he was considering.

"I'll probably wait it out," said Suter after scoring his first receiving touchdown of the season. "It's a little swollen, but I always expect to play regardless of anything."

Suter was considering an operation for a meniscus tear in his left knee, but the injury began to show improvement late last week.

50,000 at Byrd again

With a crowd of 51,545, the 11th largest in Byrd Stadium's history, Maryland exceeded 50,000 in the stands for the third time in a row, a first for the school. Only once before - in 1985 - did the team draw 50,000 or more in three separate games.

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