COLLEGE PARK -- Never fear, all you Brooks Barnard fans.
The 19-year-old youngster from Broadneck is the unquestioned No. 1 punter for the 4-1 Maryland team.
"I think I'd be run out of town if I didn't start him," said Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden yesterday. "He really knocks the ball out of there, doesn't he? Brooks had a lot to do with changing the tempo of the game against Wake Forest with that 62-yarder late in the third quarter. He put them in a hole [own 4-yard line] they never got out of."
Barnard also had a 54-yard punt against the Demon Deacons and finished the day with a 41.4 average on eight kicks. Just imagine what his average would have been if he hadn't shanked the 8-yarder early in the second quarter on just the third punt of his collegiate career?
If the walk-on redshirt freshman had punted the ball 40 yards instead of 8 on his second try last Saturday, his average for the day would have leaped to 45.4.
The Maryland single-season record for punting average is 43.8, established by Scott Milanovich in 1993.
So what about all this instant success for Barnard?
"It's a great feeling," Barnard said. "After I messed that one up, I had to redeem myself. I guess it was time to start living up to the name."
Barnard is named after Orioles Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson.
Shooting for three
Maryland would own a 2-1 ACC mark for third behind Florida State and Georgia Tech.
"Things do seem to be breaking right for us in the ACC this year," Vanderlinden said. "But it's still early and I don't want the team to lose focus by getting too excited now. We haven't arrived yet."
Jordan in a sprint
Maryland tailback LaMont Jordan is now drawing rave reviews around the ACC for outrunning Wake Forest cornerback and sprinter Reggie Austin to the goal line Saturday to complete a 70-yard touchdown reception from Calvin McCall.
"No. 9 [Austin] really didn't gain that much ground on LaMont," Vanderlinden said. "LaMont carries his pads well. People just don't think he can run that fast because he's so big and powerful."
Austin is the ACC's 100- and 200-meter champion.
Jordan said he was surprised to hear that Austin was a track star. "I said, 'Well, OK, that's good. I guess my speed picked up against Wake Forest. Maybe I'll get even faster against Clemson this week,' " Jordan said.
When Jordan crossed the goal line on the 70-yard reception, he became the first Maryland player since Dean Richards in 1977 to run for a touchdown, throw a touchdown pass and catch a touchdown pass in one season.
All of which prompted Jordan to say, "I've been joking with the coaches to let me play on special teams and defense, so I can score touchdowns five ways."
Maryland defensive end Erwyn Lyght exploded on the scene against Wake Forest with three sacks in what has been called the best performance of his collegiate football career.
The fifth-year senior finished with nine tackles against the Deacons and now leads Maryland this season with four sacks and six tackles for losses.