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Local star steps in for Terps

By BRIAN LANDMAN and ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland freshman linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, a former standout at Seminole High, didn't expect to play much this season.

When two-a-days began, he was third string.

Then an injury elevated him to the second team behind junior Leon Joe, which opened the door for significant playing time.

"I had to step up to the plate, and it was just a blessing to do what I did out there," he said.

Jackson had 12 tackles, 10 solo, and forced a fumble in the opener against Notre Dame. He added five tackles and a forced fumble last week against Akron.

"I thought he had a chance to be a very productive linebacker off of what I saw on film," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who outrecruited Florida, North Carolina State and LSU.

"He hasn't disappointed me. I think he's going to be an outstanding player for us, and I'm just really happy that he's with us."

HAVE TICKETS?: FSU junior defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, from Burtonsville, Md., scrounged up more than 80 tickets from teammates for family and friends.

CHANGE OF VENUE: Before the game, FSU players, their helmets raised high, started jumping too close to midfield -- and the Terrapins -- for the officials' comfort. Several rushed over and told the Seminoles to move away.

SIZZLE, THEN FIZZLE: On its first play, Maryland quarterback Scott McBride completed a pass to fullback Chad Killian, who went 39 yards down the left side before being pushed out at the FSU 41. Two plays later, McBride hit Rich Parson for a 14-yard gain to put Maryland in field goal position.

But the Terrapins didn't get any closer, and Nick Novak's 41-yard field goal was blocked by B.J. Ward.

The Seminoles converted field goals on their first two possessions (44 and 23 yards) to silence the crowd and give FSU a 6-0 first-quarter lead.

LITTLE RAIN: Minutes after kickoff, thunderstorms slammed into College Park, pelting the stadium with huge raindrops. It stopped after about 10 minutes.

FACES IN THE CROWD: Former Seminole star defensive tackle Corey Simon, a mainstay up front with the Eagles, was on the FSU sideline. The Eagles play the Redskins on Monday.

Meanwhile, former FSU quarterback Kirk Coker (1984-85) and fullback John Merna (1988) were in the stands. Both are majors in the Marine Corps and stationed at Quantico in Virginia.

Also, Maryland's national title basketball team was honored at halftime.

MIXED EMOTIONS: Another FSU alumni, Paris Glendening, attended the game after visiting with coach Bobby Bowden. But Glendening better have been rooting against his alma mater.

He is the governor of Maryland.

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