Sept. 13, 1997
Florida State Manhandles the Terps
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Thad Busby threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and Dan Kendra had a pair of second-half scoring tosses to Peter Warrick as sixth-ranked Florida State overpowered Maryland, 50-7, in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
One week after grinding out a 14-7 victory at Southern Cal, the Seminoles (2-0, 1-0 ACC) exploded in their home opener at Doak Campbell Stadium, where they are unbeaten in their last 30 games (29-0-1). They held a 559-105 advantage in total yards and played 33 freshmen.
"We played like I was hoping we would -- dominating," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "When they play like that you're always going to have a chance to win but we really had every advantage on Maryland today."
Florida State improved to 8-0 all-time against Maryland and 40-1 all-time in the ACC, including 22-0 at home. The Seminoles have outscored the Terrapins, 396-130, in the all-time series.
"It's hard to find positives in getting beat 50-7," Maryland coach Ron Vanderlinden said. "It's hard to judge if a team is ready to play. I felt that we were and I felt the true excitement playing Florida State."
Busby completed 26-of-34 passes without an interception as he improved to 13-1 as a starter. He connected with E.G. Green on TD passes of seven yards in the first quarter and 15 yards in the second as FSU built a 30-7 halftime lead.
"It was a good game for the offense," Busby said. "We went back and looked at the film from the USC game and ironed out the mistakes that we made. We need to continue to improve and work on the little things."
Kendra began the second half and was 6-of-8 for 105 yards. He found Warrick with TD passes of 17 and 24 yards on consecutive possessions late in the third quarter, building the lead to 44-7.
"Normally, I'll send the first team out for the first series after the half even if we're pulling 'em, but we wanted to get Kendra some work. he did pretty well when he was in there, but he still needs a lot of work. He needs to play in game situations."
Chris Weinke, who spent six years in the minor-league system of the Toronto Blue Jays, threw a nine-yard TD pass to William McCray to cap the scoring with 3:01 to play. Weinke was 5-of-10 for 48 yards.
Green caught six passes for 118 yards, extending his streak of games with at least one catch to 29 games, one short of the school record. Melvin Pearsall had seven catches for 65 yards, Laveranues Coles added four for 91 and Warrick had three for 51. The Seminoles had 12 different players with a reception.
"After looking at the film of the USC game, we knew we had to change some things and I think we did that today," Green said. "The receivers as a group played really well."
Lamont Jordan had a 44-yard touchdown run in the second period for Maryland (0-2), which got off to a 4-0 start last year but is winless under new coach Ron Vanderlinden. Brian Cummings was 7-for-11 for 48 yards and was sacked four times.
FSU took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards to a 20-yard kick by Bill Gramatica. Three minutes later, a one-yard TD run by Dee Feaster made it 10-0.
Busby's seven-yarder to Green came with four seconds left in the opening quarter and capped an 80-yard march. A 44-yard kick by Sebastian Janikowski made it 20-0 before Jordan's run finally got Maryland on the board with 5:54 remaining before halftime.
Busby directed a 74-yard march that resulted in his 15-yard TD toss to Green and Janikowski added a 49-yard field goal with 42 seconds left in the half.
"Their strategy was to come out throwing and they did that very well," Vanderlinden said. "Even when we had them covered they still made big plays. They are definitely a well-coached team."
Florida State prevented Maryland from making a first down on six straight possessions during the second and third quarters and held the Terrapins to 15 yards in the second half.