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Rout of alumni is measure of progress for Terps


COLLEGE PARK -- Don't shrug off the Maryland varsity's 48-0 victory over the alumni at Byrd Stadium yesterday.

It was only a year ago that the varsity edged the alumni by a point, needing to stop a two-point conversion to preserve the victory.

Last year, the alumni crossed midfield on all but one possession during the game, racking up 257 rushing yards with two former defensive backs.

This game signified progress for the Terps.

"We're definitely better than last year," said Ratcliff Thomas, who has made 246 tackles in two seasons. "You can say that they're old, but they came out hard. This year, we were a step ahead and played harder. We were ready."

It was the third annual varsity-alumni game, which pits the Terps against former players from the mid-1970s to 1980s and marks the end of spring practice.

There was little to criticize in the Terps' play. The revamped offensive line allowed only one sack as the Terps moved easily down the field. The defense never gave the alumni a chance to gain rhythm.

Even kicker Joe O'Donnell converted a 47-yard field goal, surpassing his best kick last year by 7 yards.

The Terps broke out early, scoring on their first three possessions.

Quarterback Scott Milanovich, whose name has been mentioned during the week in a gambling probe and refused to speak to the media after the game, started and played only 1 1/2 quarters. He looked sharp, tossing three touchdown passes.

Brian Cummings relieved Milanovich in the second quarter, but didn't seem as fluid. Cummings, who ran Maryland's short-yardage option offense last year, looked to scramble and pass out in the flats.

"I threw well all spring, but I don't know why I didn't today," said Cummings, a 5-foot-11 redshirt sophomore who pitched last Sunday for the Terrapins baseball team. "I have to learn how to throw through the cracks. This is my first time getting this many reps."

Two running backs battling for the starting slot, Brian Underwood and Buddy Rodgers, both had productive outings. Underwood made several strong runs to the outside, and Rodgers powered ahead through several tackles.

"It's still early, and I feel confident both will be productive for us," said Maryland coach Mark Duffner, who declined to comment on specifics about the gambling situation. "I think we can be productive with both their styles."

On defense, the Terps are more optimistic than coming out of last spring. Twenty players return, including nine starters.

The alumni didn't get inside the Terps' 10-yard line.

"This is our third year together, and it's easier to play aggressive when you know what you're doing," Thomas said. "We have to get the job done now. This is our best chance."

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