Maryland's spring football session culminated yesterday in a defense-dominated Red-White game that left everyone asking the same question that was posed when workouts began: who is the quarterback?
The Red squad held on for a 10-6 victory by a margin of Ed Loncar's extra-point kick and 27-yard field goal. The Red touchdown came in the second quarter on a 66-yard drive in which 35 yards were eaten away by penalties. A pass-interference call moved the ball to the one, setting up fullback Rick Fasano's touchdown dive.
Fasano, who doesn't figure prominately in the Terrapins' plans next year, was also responsible for the longest penalty-free play from scrimmage on the drive, a 12-yard run up the middle. David McAfee was one of two passing on the drive.
Linebacker Neal Olkewicz intercepted a Bob Milkovich pass and returned it 23 yards to the 18 to set up Loncar's field goal for a 10-0 lead with 8:12 remaining.
The White Team took advantage of a 21-yard John Papuchis punt to score on a 41-yard drive, moving to the two-yard line on a 24-yard pass-interference penalty and a 14-yard pass from Tim O'Hare to split end Larry Gregory, who made a sensational, in-a-crowd catch.
George Scott, who led all rushers with 48 yards on 12 carries, bulled up the middle for the score. The two-point conversion pass failed.
O'Hare was unable to move the White team 39 yards in the final minute of the game for a winning touchdown.
Maryland Coach Jerry Claiborne said at the outset of spring practice that he was hoping two of his four quarterbacks would rise above the other so that fall practice could be spent preparing for the season-opener with Tulane instead of trying to work four quarterbacks down to two.
But yesterday's performances, Claiborne said, were typical of this spring's workouts, leaving the first and second quarterback positions wide open.
Six-foot-seven freshman Mike Tice has an exceptional throwing arm and had been rumored early as a shoo-in. But yesterday, Tice completed only five of 14 passes for 55 yards. O'Hare was seven of 15 for 73 yards.
McAfee was four of six for 19 yards. Milkovich attempted one pass but it was intercepted.
"Right now, Tice and O'Hare and McAfee are pretty close," said Claiborne. "Milkovich hasn't come along as quickly but he shows a lot of promise. They all do some good things and some bad things.
"They all run our running game pretty good and they all carry out fakes, well. Tice has the strongest arm but he doesn't always hit the right receiver. O'Hare has the most experience and McAfee seems to have a knack to move the ballclub.
"The quarterback position is still up in the air. All four have had good days and bad days, and we'll just have to make a decision in a hurry next fall."
Claiborne seemed pleased overall with the spring practices and the game.
"With the squad split up, we felt defense would probably dominate the game, and it did," said Claiborne. "I thought the best thing about it was the enthusiasm displayed by both team (lack of it concerned Claiborne all last year).
"The linebackers were not supposed to blitz as a part of the special rules for this game, but they did, anyway, and that stopped the offenses several times. They can't help that when they get out there.
"We have to get our linebackers straight and we're hoping to add more depth to our defense unit when the freshmen come in."
Claiborne said that defensive linemen Charlie Johnson, Bruce Palmer and John Sturdivant had excellent springs and were ready for the season. He was also pleased with the play of Joe Muffler and Jim Shaffer at defensive ends.