Scott Schwedes' worst dream came true--and so did that of the Cherry Bowl officials.
In front of more than 50,000 empty seats, Schwedes botched up a punt return Saturday to help Maryland to a 35-18 victory over Syracuse.
"It's funny, but I have this dream, over and over," the Syracuse player said. "I dream I just made the catch, start running, and somebody hits me. I fumble, and they take it in for a touchdown.
"Saturday, the worst did happen," he said. "I was trying to get around somebody, the ball was punched out, it went up instead of down into the ground . . . just like in my dream."
Maryland linebacker Scott Schankweiler stripped Schwedes of the ball, and teammate Scott Tye, a defensive tackle, plucked it from the air and ran eight yards to score. The touchdown gave Maryland a 21-10 lead and control of the game.
The game was one-sided, but the more than 30,000 fans who did show up received their money's worth watching the scrambling of Syracuse quarterback Don McPherson, who completed 18 of 30 passes for 204 yards and ran 21 times for 111 yards.
"I felt sorry for them--not for us," Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson said of the 20,000 or so people who chose not to attend (51,858 tickets were sold). The game was televised locally in the Detroit area.
"I thought we could do some things against them--and we did," MacPherson said. "I think that the turnovers hurt us terribly.
"We have a high-risk offense at this time. At the same time, Maryland does not have a high-risk offense, and it's to their advantage."
Maryland quarterback Stan Gelbaugh was voted the most valuable player on offense for completing 14 of 20 passes for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns. Schankweiler, who also intercepted a pass, was named defensive player of the game.
Gelbaugh's three-yard pass to tight end Chris Knight put Maryland ahead for good, 14-10, with 8:50 left in the first half. Touchdowns by Tye and running back Alvin Blount in the next 8:07 gave the Terrapins a commanding 28-10 halftime lead.
Gelbaugh threw a six-yard pass to Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof at the start of the second half to make the score 35-10.
Blount led all rushers with 132 yards in 24 carries.
Maryland, which lost only to top-five teams Penn State, Miami (Fla.) and Michigan, finished 9-3. Syracuse fell to 7-5.