UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Maryland played its first complete game of the 1992 season yesterday. The Terps were horrendous on defense, inconsistent on offense and had sloppy special teams that allowed one big play.
And it came on a day when the Terps had to be perfect. Instead, Maryland was embarrassed in a 49-13 loss to No. 10 Penn State (4-0) in front of 95,891 at Beaver Stadium.
The loss was so lopsided that even first-year coach Mark Duffner, the eternal optimist, could find little positive to talk about.
"We've got a lot of things to work on, without question," said Duffner. "Our tackling was poor and we've got to score touchdowns when we get inside the 10-yard line. I think there is plenty of frustration right now, but discouragement is not an option in this program."
Maryland cornerback Scott Rosen said: "We got our butts kicked, and that's the way it was. And any time you get your butt kicked, you feel it."
Where to begin?
Maybe with Maryland only scoring 13 points after having the ball in Penn State territory on 12 of 14 possessions, including three times inside the 10-yard line?
Or how about the Penn State pass rush that beat up on Maryland starting quarterback John Kaleo and forced him out of the game with a sprained right knee with 8:07 left in the third quarter?
Or maybe the 21 second-quarter points by Penn State that turned the game into a rout?
Duffner wanted to start with his defense. The Terps (0-4) had planned all week to stop Penn State's rushing attack. They put extra beef into the lineup by starting senior Dave Marrone at inside linebacker and Ron Reagan at strong safety. They moved Rosen to cornerback from free safety to get physical Andre Vaughn the start at free safety. The Terps crowded the line of scrimmage with six and seven players, especially on first down.
But it didn't work. Penn State tailback Richie Anderson is good, but Maryland made him look like a Heisman Trophy candidate. Anderson, from Sandy Spring, Md., rushed for 138 yards on 20 carries. He had touchdown runs of 6, 25 and 22 yards. The Nittany Lions rushed for 295 yards.
Penn State quarterback John Sacca, an average passer who has yet to be tested, completed 12 of 23 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Nittany Lions had 502 yards total offense.
"The biggest thing we've got to do is work on our tackling," said Duffner. "Of course, they've got great backs and a fine offensive line, but too many times we let Penn State out of situations based on our tackling."
In the second quarter, the Terps' defense simply got manhandled. Trailing 3-0 after a Dan DeArmas field goal with 13:41 left in the second period, Penn State went with a two-tight end offense.
It paid off quickly. Penn State went 77 yards in eight plays, the big plays being runs of 17 and 18 yards by Anderson. The Nittany Lions finished the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass on a middle screen from Sacca to flanker O.J. McDuffie.
Penn State went on to score on its next two possessions as well. Anderson ended a five-play, 74-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run with 6:26 left in the half, and then scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Sacca over the middle with 53 seconds left to give Penn Syate a 21-3
lead at the half. During both drives, Penn State used the run to set up the pass.
"They got to us and we stopped playing to our responsibilities," said Rosen. "We had outside guys jumping inside and inside guys jumping outside. We had a lot of freshmen playing against one of the best teams in the country."
Maryland's offense was having similar problems. The Terps moved the ball from 20 to 20, but again had trouble producing points in the red zone.
Maryland had a first-and-goal on the 2 early in the second quarter, but got no farther. Halfback Doug Burnett lost 3 yards on a run out of the T-formation into the strength of the Penn State defense on the short side of the field. On second down, wideout Marcus Badgett dropped a slant in pass in the end zone. On third down, Kaleo, who is expected to be able to practice this week, ran an option right to the short side for no gain. DeArmas kicked the 21-yard field goal.
"We wanted to play power football," said Duffner, whose team had 518 yards total offense. "Give Penn State credit. They stopped us."
That's because Maryland was tipping the plays, the Lions said.
"The first time [inside the 20] their linemen went to a four-point stance," said Penn State defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson. "They tipped us off they were going to run."
Maryland's second trip inside the red zone was a first-and-goal on the 3 on the Terps' first possession of the third quarter. After runs by Mason and Burnett, the Terps were at the 4-yard line. On third down, Kaleo's pass for flanker Richie Harris was tipped at the line of scrimmage. DeArmas, who hit the left upright on a 46-yard attempt in the second quarter, kicked a 20-yarder.
The Terps advanced to the Penn State 6 with 5:08 left in the third quarter, but the drive ended with backup quarterback Scott Milanovich throwing incomplete to Badgett on fourth-and-25 from the Penn State 27.
Duffner sounded miffed by his team's inability to score inside the 20, but the bottom line is that Maryland, which uses the run-and-shoot offense, is not talented enough to succeed when the field shrinks.
"That's one of the disadvantages of a wideout offense," said Penn State coach Joe Paterno. "When you do get close to the goal line, you can't go back and fourth. Your vertical stretch is diminished and you have to rely on the horizontal stretch. If you have better speed than they have, you're not in bad shape and we really have a little bit more speed than they did."
Kaleo said: "When you get down there, it's just man against man and they have the strength."
Besides having a physical advantage, Penn State got some help from Maryland's special teams, which have been poor most of the year. The big play was a 56-yard punt return by McDuffie in the fourth quarter that set up another Penn State touchdown.
About the only good news for Maryland was that Kaleo, who completed 18 of 30 for 208 yards before leaving the game, appears to be OK. His knee will be X-rayed today.
"A Penn State defensive lineman came over top of me, my foot got stuck in the ground, then I heard something pop," said Kaleo, who was walking with only a slight limp by the end of the
game. "I'll get X-rayed and see what happens."