MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Ken Mastrole became the first freshman in Maryland football history to start at quarterback last night, but he lasted only two series before coach Mark Duffner replaced him with Brian Cummings.
A redshirt freshman from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mastrole was given the starting assignment just minutes before the Terps' 13-0 loss at West Virginia. After pre-game warm-ups, Duffner announced that Cummings would start, but changed his mind on the way into the locker room.
"There wasn't a specific plan," Duffner said. "I just wanted to get the tempo of the game established before Brian came in."
Cummings made his first pass an 11-yard completion to Geroy Simon, but then struggled. He threw the first of his four interceptions three plays later, and left the game after the last, when he aggravated the slight shoulder separation that had knocked him out of the Virginia loss on Sept. 14.
"Some of the harder throws, there was an uncomfortable feeling in my arm," Cummings said. "Two of the interceptions were good defense, the other two were terrible throws. Maybe I was trying too hard to make something happen."
Once Cummings was sidelined, Mastrole returned. When Buddy Rodgers went out with a hip pointer and starting tailback Harold Westley (nine carries, 9 net yards) joined him on the bench, the Terps went with a backfield of Mastrole at quarterback, true freshman Kenny Rogers at fullback and converted wide receiver Clifton Crosby at tailback.
Cummings wasn't ready to say whether he would play Saturday against N.C. State, which will be Maryland's first game at Byrd Stadium in four weeks.
Mountaineers moving on
It's beginning to look a lot like 1993 for West Virginia. That was the year the Mountaineers began the season lightly regarded but won the Big East title and didn't lose until they were pummeled by Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
West Virginia's next two games are against Boston College and Temple, so it figures to be 7-0 before home games against Miami and Syracuse. It is getting stellar work from its defense, and its offense is protecting the ball, as the Mountaineers had one turnover against Maryland.
"Our defense was absolutely dynamite, but our offense was not very good," coach Don Nehlen said. "We should have been able to put this game out of reach earlier than we did."
National television and Sept. 28 is not a good Terps combination. A year ago yesterday, Maryland played its first nationally televised game in six years. It was ripped by Georgia Tech, 31-3. Last night on ESPN2, the Terps left another poor impression. It was not the worst offensive performance in Maryland history. Syracuse held the Terps to 29 yards in 1959. Maryland's defense still hasn't allowed a touchdown pass. Orlando Strozier ended Chad Johnston's streak of consecutive passes without an interception at 127.
Next for Maryland
Opponent: N.C. State
Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park
Time: Saturday, noon
Yesterday: Lost to Purdue, 42-21
Pub Date: 9/29/96