Bowden's Boys Needed No Help, but Got it.(SPORTS)

Article excerpt


At halftime, one unhappy spectator at Byrd Stadium guzzled a cup of coffee in the forlorn hope that it might wash away the taste of Florida State's 30-0 lead over Maryland.

No such luck. The coffee was bitter, too.

Someday, somewhere, the Terrapins actually may give the Seminoles a game. For now, the carnage keeps getting worse. Florida State won the first 12 meetings in this ridiculous rivalry by an average of 36 points. Last night Bobby Bowden's 'Noles almost matched that in the first half en route to a 37-10 breeze before 51,758 presumably dismayed eyewitnesses.

The drubbing illustrated - again - how far Maryland remains from being able to lick traditionally strong teams. In losses to Florida in the Orange Bowl, Notre Dame in this season's opener and Florida State, the Terps have been outscored 115-33, which is no way to influence poll voters, bowl selectors and recruits.

Let's remember, though, how far Ralph Friedgen's Terps have come from their dismal days under Mark Duffner and Ron Vanderlinden. They appear to be about halfway through their journey from patsy to powerhouse. Right now Maryland is a good team at a middlin' level, which unfortunately is not where bully boys like Florida State live.

Rule No.1 for teams attempting to smite prestigious enemies hip and thigh is, don't give them anything. The Terps ignored this sensible dictum in the first half and paid for it through their derrieres. Four of Florida State's first five scores followed a blocked field goal attempt, a 28-yard punt, a lost fumble and an interception, which should have been frustrating enough to make the newer, slimmer Fridge snarf a few Twinkies on the sideline.

Did somebody mention frustration? With Florida State nursing a 13-0 lead in the second quarter, Maryland tailback Chris Downs raced 61 yards for a touchdown that appeared to resuscitate the Terps. But what was that yellow handkerchief doing on the field? It seems somebody in red and white had thrown an illegal block, and after the resulting penalty Friedgen's troops could have started preparing for Eastern Michigan next Saturday. Or maybe for next season.

While Maryland's master of gridiron affairs stalked and stomped for three hours, Florida State's Bowden strolled his turf in his usual calm manner. When you have achieved what he has over 37 seasons - two national championships, nine ACC titles, 14 straight seasons of 10 or more victories from 1987 through 2000 and a lifetime winning percentage of .781 (326-91-4) at Samford, West Virginia and Florida State - there isn't much that gets you angry. …