Through the first four games, center Jamie Bragg, guards Jade Dubis and David Hack and tackles Steve Ingram and John Teter played every down on the offensive line, and got raves for the time they provided the run-and-shoot offense. But on a steamy artificial surface at Georgia Tech on Saturday, the line was dragging.
Rotating linemen and linebackers, the Yellow Jackets recorded 10 sacks, half of them stopping Maryland drives that had gotten to the Tech 25-yard line or better.
"The five of us don't look to come out, but I went against five guys [from Georgia Tech]," Ingram said. "They're always rotating fresh guys in. You could hear coaches asking their line 'Are you fresh?' Those guys would raise a hand, and another guy would come in. You always have a fresh guy against you.
"We have to learn a minimum of four players a week we'll be facing. Teams are devising different schemes to slow us down, and there's a lot more to see and learn. If we don't pick it up, the offense doesn't move."
The Terps averaged 34 points in their first four games, but were held to 191 yards and one touchdown by Penn State and couldn't get in the end zone in the 38-0 loss at Georgia Tech.
stretched their losing streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference to 16 games. Their last ACC win came two years ago, at Maryland.
After the Duke game, Maryland (0-6) plays three of its last four games on the road, but the Terps believe they can fulfill the consensus preseason prediction of a seventh-place finish in the nine-team ACC, above Duke and Wake Forest. The Blue Devils " and Demon Deacons also are winless in ACC play.
The Terps will be heavy underdogs in the three games between Duke and Wake Forest on Nov. 20: a trip to Clemson on Oct. 30; No. 1 Florida State at Byrd Stadium on Nov. 6; and a Nov. 13 date at North Carolina State.
Kicking game crumbles
Duffner's worst fears about the Maryland kicking game have been realized.
The Terps began scrambling when junior college All-American Lonny Calicchio didn't receive the associate's degree that would have made him eligible.
Ken Lytle has converted all 16 of the extra points he has attempted, but he missed two field-goal tries against Virginia in the opener and three more at Virginia Tech. John Milligan, a walk-on, got the call last week, but went wide right from 33 yards, leaving the Terps 1-for-7 on field-goal attempts. Kickoffs, another shortcoming, have been handled the past two weeks by wide receiver Russ Weaver.
Quarterback Scott Milanovich has filled in at punter. His 43.6-yard average leads the ACC and is No. 11 in the nation, but his first attempt against Penn State was blocked and a line-drive 44-yarder out of the end zone against Georgia Tech led to a 20-yard return and then a touchdown that broke open a close game.
Sophomore wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, who dropped a pass from Milanovich that would have cut the Georgia Tech lead to 17-7 in the third quarter, has been playing with a fractured bone in the ring finger of his right hand.
The Terps' defense, which moved ahead of Temple and out of the NCAA basement in points allowed per game, could get its senior captains back soon.
Inside linebacker Chad Wiest- ling, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair torn knee cartilage Sept. 24, may be cleared to practice this week. Lineman Mark Sturdivant, who broke an ankle in the opener, is expected to have his cast removed today