COLLEGE PARK -- A weakened Maryland defensive unit reported more bad news, as defensive line standout Mark Sturdivant will miss a minimum of six weeks with a fractured bone in his right ankle.
Sturdivant, a 255-pound senior end who was first-team All-ECAC last year, fractured the medial malleolus bone, on the inside of the ankle, early in the fourth quarter of Satur- day's season-opening 43-29 loss to Virginia. He was not on the field when the Cavaliers broke a 29-29 tie with two touchdowns in the final six minutes.
Coach Mark Duffner said that the earliest possible return for Sturdivant would be against Clemson on Oct. 30. He could play in the Terps' final four games, or consider petitioning the NCAA for another season of eligibility via medical hardship.
"Obviously, I'd be in favor of that, if it's what Mark wants to do," Duffner said. "Not having Sturdivant as a leader is going to have an effect on our defense. He was our best defensive lineman. Certainly, he was a strong personality on our defense."
"I'm not too sure what I want to do right now," Sturdivant said. "I'm very depressed over the situation, and I really haven't thought about when I'll come back. While I'm out, I can at least help motivate the younger guys."
After career-ending back injuries to 1992 sack leader Jim Panagos and the academic ineligibility of cornerback Mike Lacy, Sturdivant's injury means the Terps' defense is down to two starters from last year.
The top two returning tacklers are Chad Wiestling, who is playing a new position, inside linebacker, and nose guard Madison Bradley, who is coming off of a summer in which back ailments limited his activity.
Sturdivant's injury will magnify the youth of a defense that used four true freshman, five redshirt freshmen and two junior college transfers against Virginia.
Maryland can no longer count on Sturdivant's size, speed and experience for Saturday's 1:30 p.m. Atlantic Coast Conference game at No. 14 North Carolina. The Tar Heels, who have one of the nation's most productive ground games, start four seniors on an offensive line that averages 277 pounds. The Terps' front four, depending upon the personnel, can average as low as 250.
Duffner counted 20 first-year players who made their first NCAA Division I-A appearances against Virginia, and he said he expects to use several other rookies against North Carolina.
Ron "Bam-Bam" White is one freshman who probably won't play this year. White, the Terps' top offensive line recruit, underwent an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago, and said he won't be cleared to practice for at least another four weeks.
Duffner said that wide receivers Wade Inge (knee ligament strain), Jermaine Lewis (hamstring strain) and Richard Roberts (sprained knee), free safety Angel Guerra (shoulder bruise) and Wiestling (ankle sprain) should all be ready to play against North Carolina.
Delay of game
TCJ Productions will present telecasts of the North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest games, and possibly the Penn State game, on a delay basis on Home Team Sports. Howard Mash will do the play-by-play and Dick Shiner the color.