Injured Thomas sidelined after 33 consecutive starts Ailing shoulder sends top linebacker to bench


COLLEGE PARK -- Ratcliff Thomas, a constant on the Maryland defense over the past three seasons, missed the first start of his Terps career last night.

A senior outside linebacker from Alexandria, Va., Thomas dislocated a shoulder in practice last Sunday, and was held out of the opener against Northern Illinois.

Thomas earned the right to start against Virginia as a true freshman in 1993, and that game began his string of 33 straight starts. He has led the Terps in tackles for three seasons, and his 347 career tackles rank No. 7 in Maryland history.

Redshirt junior Brett White started in Thomas' place and led the Terps with nine tackles. He also began the play that broke the game open. His sack and strip of Huskies quarterback Brandon Barker set up a 49-yard fumble return for a touchdown by freshman tackle Delbert Cowsette.

Transfer front

It remains to be seen whether Maryland is interested in Bobby Sabelhaus, the former McDonogh quarterback who left Florida and is looking for another Division I-A program to call home, but the Terps may get another former prep All-American.

Rasheed Simmons, who had several starts as a redshirt freshman for Michigan last year, is interested in coming to Maryland. A 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end, Simmons was a first-team USA Today All-American in 1993. He would have to sit out this season, then be eligible for the next two.


Brian Cummings completed eight of 16 passes for 120 yards, but threw into double coverage on the Terps' third possession and was intercepted, the team's only turnover of the game. . . . Cummings' first completion went to Craig Fitzgerald. It was the first catch by a Maryland tight end in two years. . . . Kendall Ogle started at right linebacker, and also played on short-yardage offense, getting his first college touchdown. . . . Mitch Watkins, a redshirt junior from Salisbury's James M. Bennett High and a non-scholarship player, made the first start of his career, at right guard. . . . Prior to the game, a moment of silence was observed in the press box in honor of the late Joe F. Blair, a long-time Maryland publicist. It was the first game played at Byrd Stadium since his death last Nov. 15.

Pub Date: 9/01/96

Next for Maryland

Opponent: Alabama-Birmingham

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Record: 0-1

7+ Yesterday: Lost to No. 16 Auburn, 29-0.

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