Suter catches on, fuels record surge


67-yard return, receptions aid 39-point 2nd quarter

Novak kicks way to No. 2

College Football

November 02, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - The numbers say that Steve Suter accounted for only two points in Maryland's offensive explosion yesterday, but he was a much more conspicuous figure on the field than in the wrap-up.

After an early holding penalty nullified his reception at the North Carolina 1 in the first quarter, Suter was all over the place making catches to jump-start an attack that needed to recover from a no-touchdown loss at Georgia Tech.

A 17-yard pass to the North Carroll graduate launched Maryland's tying touchdown drive and a 39-point outburst in the second period that broke the Atlantic Coast Conference record for a quarter. He then made a diving catch in the end zone for his only points and a 14-14 tie.

The next time he touched the ball, Suter blasted away on a 67-yard kickoff return to the Tar Heels' 33 that set up another score. Then everybody seemed to join the act, feeding off Suter's energy. He finished with four receptions for 72 yards.

"We were mad as an offense after Georgia Tech because we let the team down," Suter said. "If we had just scored one touchdown, we'd have won that game. Everybody was hitting on all cylinders today."

That included an offensive line that coach Ralph Friedgen had challenged, personally taking charge of its late-week practice session.

Said guard Lamar Bryant: "He wanted to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. I think we got our mojo back."

Friedgen reminded his O line that Babe Ruth hit a lot of home runs, but also struck out often.

"He told us we're not going to hit a homer every day, but to always swing for the fences," Bryant added. "We got a sense early when he kept calling running play after running play, that we were going to win the game off the offensive line's effort."

Meanwhile, quarterback Scott McBrien relaxed and played like the All-American he is in practice.

"Scotty was dropping the ball right in there, right on the money," said Suter, who actually caught a 9-yard pass intended for Latrez Harrison while cutting underneath the pattern. "I was just going to do whatever it took. We were in the huddle laughing about it later."

Said Friedgen: "I thanked my kids after the game because I was worried I wasn't reaching them. I was worried about this game. ... I was more demonstrative than I usually am. I butted a few guys. I think they respond to that."

"I never saw him so rambunctious," Suter said. "He was bodying up people, and I thought he was going to hurt himself."

Second helping

Terps kicker Nick Novak scored 15 of the 59 points and charged into second place on the school scoring list with 293.

A junior, Novak passed running back Rick Badanjek and it appears just a matter of time before he moves past fellow kicker Jess Atkinson (308 points from 1981 to 1984).

Novak also sent nine straight kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks after Mike Mason returned his second kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

"I really focused in on my kickoffs because their returner is dangerous," Novak said.

Et cetera

The attendance of 51,195 was the fifth straight 50,000-plus crowd, marking the first time that has happened at Byrd Stadium. ... The Terps are 18-1 at home under Friedgen. ... The Tar Heels were the first Maryland opponent to score on their opening possession.

Next for Terps

Matchup: Virginia (5-4, 3-3) vs. Maryland (6-3, 3-2)

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Nov. 13, 7:45 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN/ WBAL (1090 AM)

Yesterday: Virginia lost to North Carolina State, 51-37

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