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Terps find lucky quarter(s)

September 28, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland had every chance to play for the future on Saturday.

But coach Ron Vanderlinden was happy to settle playing for the moment at hand.

Time certainly wasn't of the essence against Temple in a game between two struggling teams. But the Terps turned on enough defense to overshadow a still glaring question on offense to claim a 30-20 victory over the Owls before 27,047 fans at Byrd Stadium.

"I hated to lose the two games we did beween wins, but this was an important one for us," Vanderlinden said. "I'm pleased with win tonight. (Temple) was the test we had tonight, not the one that is before us now."

The next test is against No. 10 Florida State, which will never be confused with Temple (0-4). But the Terps (2-2) did what they needed to do to claim a win against a team of the Owls' caliber.

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Defensively, Maryland held Temple to 208 yards of offense, including only 92 rushing to a team that was ranked seventh in the nation.

And offensively, Maryland was able to score 30 points without deciding on its No. 1 quarterback. Ken Mastrole and Randall Jones shared the duties, and were used when their talents were needed the most.

Mastrole engineered 24 points, while Jones managed to get the Terps into position for two field goals. Maryland piled up 380 yards of offense - the most by the Terps since 1996 - using the two-headed quarterback attack.

The duel behind center was overshadowed by tailback LaMont Jordan, who ran for a career-high 138 yards and two touchdowns.

"I thought LaMont ran the way he's accustomed to run," Vanderlinden said. "He ran hard inside. Kenny demonstrated he has perfected throwing the ball downfield. And Randall overall performed well. The offense did a nice job moving the ball effectively."

It was the defense, though, that made effective good enough to win.

"I was very encouraged with the play of the defense," said Vanderlinden, who has two of his four wins at Maryland against Temple. "It was a shame that there were 20 points on the scoreboard."

Temple scored one touchdown on LaVar Talley's 10-yard fumble return and another off Maryland's second-team defense in the final two minutes to get within 10 points.

"Well, obviously we weren't a very good football team tonight," Temple coach Bobby Wallace said. "I really don't know exactly what to say, but I will say we struggled fiercely offensively. And defensively, we are not a good football team right now."

Temple's problems made Maryland's tag-team quarterbacking more effective. Mastrole shined in passing situations, while Jones showed the ability to run the Terps' option plays effectively.

"It was a big confidence builder for us," Mastrole said. "We scored 30 points. That puts us on another level after the way things went last week against West Virginia. The platooning with Randall helped me. The competition made me play harder, so when I had to opportunity, I tried to capitalize."

Mastrole, who hit on 7 of 13 passes for 104 yards, led Maryland to its first score, a seven-play, 65-yard drive capped by Jordan's 26-yard scoring run around right end. Jordan accounted for 50 yards on five carries in the drive.

Kicker Brian Kopka hit field goals of 23, 42 and 29 yards to help push the Terps to a 13-7 lead at the half and 16-7 with 4:39 left in the third quarter.

After Talley scored on the fumble to close to within 16-14, Maryland took over.

Jordan ran 27 yards for his second score and Mastrole hit Bruce James with a 38-yard TD pass on a third-and-7 play for a 30-14 lead.

Then it was time for Maryland to live for this moment.

"I'm happy to be 2-2, but I thought we would be in better position right now," Maryland linebacker Eric Barton said. "I don't care though, as long as we win."

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