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UM marching in place

October 18, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

UM marching in place

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Saturday morning's Midnight Madness had fans buzzing on the University of Maryland campus.

The basketball team's debut was a nice diversion for the Midday Mayhem on the football field.

The Terrapins sounded the air raid sirens as Wake Forest took to the sky for 17 first-half points before holding on for a 20-10 Atlantic Coast Conference victory in a disappointing performance before an equally disappointing Homecoming crowd of 23,419 at Byrd Stadium.

"We did a good job coming back in the second half, but we have to learn to play four quarters," Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "It is just a lack of confidence because of a lack of success."

Maryland's first half did very little to boost any sagging egos either.

Wake Forest took advantage of the Terps' young and soft secondary as quarterback Brian Kuklick threw for 144 yards and two touchdowns. In the process, senior receiver Desmond Clark became the ACC's all-time leading receiver with six first-half catches, including scores of 26 and 9 yards.

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"It's disappointing to play two completely different games in one game," Vanderlinden said. "In the first half, we were tentative and not challenging their receivers. In the second half, we got aggressive."

But even more discouraging has to be the sudden downward trend in Maryland's play. After challenging Florida State just two short weeks ago, the Terrapins fell off the pinnacle of lofty aspirations into another pit of mediocrity. The gorgeous outlook was covered with the warts of a weak secondary and inconsistent play on offense.

Despite all the problems, Maryland got to within 17-10 after three quarters and remained in contention until DaLawn Parrish picked off a Randall Jones pass at the Terp 28 with 5:38 remaining.

"It's disappointing because we were so close to getting things going," Vanderlinden said. "This is still a team that still has to learn how to win."

The last lesson came on Sept. 26, but now the Terps (2-5, 0-4) have dropped three straight games. The glimmer of hope for a bowl game has dropped faster than a shooting star.

Wake Forest (3-3, 2-1) scored on Matt Burdick's 46-yard field goal on its opening possession and then stuffed every aspect of Maryland's offense with the exception of LaMont Jordan.

Jordan showed all-ACC form with quick bursting runs for 132 yards on 20 carries and a second-half halfback option pass ended up as a 68-yard scoring strike to Jermaine Arrington.

Wake continued its passing assault, converting a pair of five-minute drives in the second quarter for the 17-0 halftime lead.

Meanwhile, Jones continued to show growing pains in assuming the job as freshman starting quarterback. He completed only six passes for 81 yards - all in the second half - as the Demon Deacons wrecked Maryland's option plan and challenged the Terps to throw.

"In the first half, we didn't move the ball real well," Jones said. "In the second half, we got some passes and starting moving the ball and then I had that mistake."

Maryland got into contention in the third quarter on Jordan's pass, which was so underthown, Arrington was able to come back on the ball catch and make his moves to the end zone as five Wake defenders ran by him on the play.

Brian Kopka added a 36-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining in the third quarter to put the Terps within striking distance.

The Terps' blitzing defense took Wake's passing attack out of the game. The Terps' chances dissolved on a Jones' first down rollout pass at the Maryland 28.

"I had (Jason Hatala) running with me and then I threw it back the other way," Jones said. "I saw it coming but I waited too long to make the decision and tried to make something happen. I know better than that to throw against my body."

The turnover culminated in a 34-yard field goal by Burdick to ice the game. Ken Mastrole came on to lead a passing barrage by the Terps to get back in the game, but it failed.

"There was so much incentive to win today," Maryland linebacker Kendall Ogle said. "It was Homecoming and I had a lot of family here watching. I don't want to see this team go like last year's. From the senior's standpoint, this is hard to look at. We only have four games left, but I think we are making progress."

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