Due to the speedy progress of its passing game, Maryland is in better shape than expected for Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference football opener with defending champion North Carolina.
The Tar Heels, on the other hand, stumbled over each other in their first game, with penalties, fumbles and missed field goals prevalent in their 14-10 win over East Carolina.
New UNC Coach Dick Crum was not pleased with the effort. "There was not enough enthusiasm," said Crum. "I think they may have peaked too early in the week."
Quarterback Matt Kupec, who said the team had a case of the "first-game blahs," apparently had trouble reading signals from the sideline. Under former Coach Bill Dooley, the plays were run in to the huddle. The offense backed up its own drives with delay-of-game penalties Saturday.
Running back Amos Lawrence sat out the second half with a hip pointer, a loss that also hurt the Tar Heels.
North Carolina is not ranked in either national poll this week, while the Terrapins are 16th in UPI and 18th in AP.
The biggest concern the Terps had in the preseason was shaping up their passing game in time for the ACC opener. With a new center, new quarterback and two new receivers, it wasn't a promising situation.
Quarterback Tim O'Hare has completed 17 of 29 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns without being intercepted.
Last Saturday, Coach Jerry Claiborne moved wingback Dean Richards to split end and used sophomore Jan Carinci at wingback, with Gary Ellis backing up both. Carinci made the most difficult catch of the game in a third-and-15 situation and leads the team in receiving with four catches for 54 yards.
X-rays of Steve Atkins' bruised ribs were negative, and he is expected to play Saturday. Last year, Atkins pulled a hamstring in the opening moments of the North Carolina game and sat out the rest of the contest. Second-string linebacker Peter Haley underwent surgery Moday to fuse the broken vertebrae in his neck.The hospital lists him in satisfactory condition. Quick tackle Scott Fanz strained the same knee that has been bothering him, but Claiborne added that Scott Collins, who stepped in for Fanz, "played as good a game as he ever played here."
Weekly ACC awards went to defensive tackle Charlie Johnson and linebacker Neal Olkewicz . . . Films showed, however, that linebacker Brian Matera, not Johnson, made the hit on quarterback Terry Mullins that forced the key fumble, leading to the winning touchdown at Louisville . . . Claiborne said the team was pelted with apples and beer on the sideline at Louisville. "And I don't mean a beer can," said Claiborne, "I mean a can of beer."