So it was easy. Maryland 31. Duke 13. The winners quarterback. Larry Dick, took a shot to the chin and afterward they sewed him up nine or 10 stitches worth. Before the embroidery work, Dick completed 12 of 15 passes for 249 yards."He was the best quarterback on the field today," said Jerry Claiborne, the Maryland coach.
They'd slapped tape across Dick's chin to get him throught the last quarter and a half. He missed only six plays. They put him in to hand off for Maryland's last touchdown. So it was 31-13 in the last minute and Dick. the tape his badge of victory, stood qn the sidelines, watching his backup man play a little.
Across the field, the day's second-best quarterback sat on his helmet. Sunlight came over the rim of Byrd Stadium. Once in a while. Mike Dunn looked at what was going on. Mostly, he sat there in the fading sunlight, staring at nothing. People came up to him and said things and he nodded and shook hands with them. It was 31-13 and Dunn's foot hurt and he'd thrown a lot of funny-looking passes. He's not used to being the second-best quarterback.
Dunn is goalpost-thin, maybe 180 poounds ata 6-foot-4. He's a junior from Hampton. Va..and he led the Atlantic Coast Conference in total offense last season. He throws well and is quick on his feet, a threat every time he takes a snap. If Duke were to win yesterday. Dunn would have to do it.
Duke came to College Park without six players who started last week's game. The defense would miss Carl McGee. an allconference linebacker. By game's end. Duke would be playing defensive backs who hadn't worked there all season. To beat Maryland. Duke needed points, lots of them, and Mike Dunn figured he could arrange that.
"I felt great going in," he said. "And after Maryland scored on the first series. I knew it would have to be a high-scoring game for us to win." Maryland led. 10-0, before Duke ran its third offensive play and it was 17-0 with seven minutes left in the first half.
Dunn was throing poorly. Although he had completed 52.9 per cent of his passes in Duke's first six games, he threw four passes that resembled nothing if not aerials put up by a righthanded girl throing lefthanded. They wobbled high in the air, and yet, with two minutes left. Dunn took Duke 67 yards to make it 17-7.
The drive was a thing of utter homeliness. Two of Dunn's gawd-awful passes were so inviting to Maryland's defenders that the eager would-be interceptors committed pass interference - once on third and 22, again on third and 12.
But on fourth down, at the two-yard line, Dunn did a nice thing when, running to his right, he suddenly stopped and flipped a soft one for the touchdown.
"We were moving the ball all right then and I thought we ought to score 28 points on them." Dunn said later. "I hadn't been too good. Our timing was off on passes because I wasn't carrying out my fakes long enough. And the ball took off from me a few times. Things were working. We had a good scheme, but we kept stopping ourselves.
It didn't help, either, that Maryland drove 74 yards in the last two minutes of the first half for a 24-7 lead. "That was an unnecessary touchdown." Dunn said, meaning it was unnecessary to his comfort. "But I've been in so many football games where I've been so far behind and came back, it didn't mean anything, really."
On its first possession in the third quarter, Maryland scored again, going up 31-7, and now Dunn needed to come up with a miracle. He had done it against South Carolina the week before, bringing Duke from 18 points back to a 25-21 victory, and now he would try again.
Realists knew it was impossible. Maryland's defense may not be the impenetrable fortress of '76, but it is too good to let a crippled, mediocre ACC team score 25 points in the last quarter and a half. Realists knew that. Quarterbacks earn their scholarships by acknowledging only the reality of the final second. So Mike Dunn tried.
Running and passing, he accounted for 35 yards in a 72-yard drive that fizzled out at the Maryland eight-yard line when the Duke fullback couldn't get a yard on fourth down.
After Maryland punted. Dunn moved Duke again, completing four of seven passes for 38 yards and running the last six yards for a touchdown, accounting for all but seven yards of a 51-yard march. The two important plays were Dunn's.
On second and five at the Maryland 14. Dunne eluded two defenders long enough to start a forward pass. Strangly, the ball flew backward. His arm had been hit. The drive was still alive, however, and , on third and five. Dunn drilled a perfect pass to his favorite receiver. Tom Hall. moving the ball to the six. From there, the quarterback scored and it was 31-13 with about 16 minutes left. Realists knew, but Dunn didn't.
Agin Maryland did nothing and Duke had the ball at its 40. Dunn. rolling left looking to pass, was tripped up by a reaching hand. As he fell, he threw a 15-yard pass. When eyes returned to Dunn, he was on the ground, in pain, gripping his right foot. A Maryland defender. Bruce Palmer, had Dunn's shoe. He walked over to the quarterback later in the drive, on third and four at the Maryland 10, and tried to make a pitchout. Maryland's Bruce Garber knocked it to the ground. A fumble, Maryland's ball. End of attempted miracle.
Dunn limped to the bench. He untied his right shoe. As be did. Maryland's Dean Richards went 42 yards with a pass from the best quarterback on the field. Byrd Stadium filled with sound and, on the bench. Mike Dunn put his face in a towel, thinking. "We drove the ball, we drove th ball, then pfffit. I fumble. Who knows that might have happened?"