Maryland came up with its worst offensive effort today in its biggest game of the year, losing, 27-9, to Penn State and its amazing quarterback, Chunk Fusina.
Fusina - the player Penn State coaxed here after futilely recruiting Mark Manges - set a school record for completions, hitting 19 of 29 for two second-half touchdowns and 286 yards, second-most in the school's history.
While the Terps' alleged bread-and-butter weapon, the rush, netted only 31 yards on 37 carriers, Fusina broke a 3.3 halftime tie with TD passes of 58 and 20 yards sandwiched around Malt Bahr's 37-yard field goal.
The 17-point scoring burst put the fifth-ranked Lions out of reached, 20-3, with 13:45 left.
At that point, Maryland removed Manges, who had returned from aggravating an injury in the opening game, and substituted Larry Dick, its passing quarterback.
But Dick had little more success than Manges. Manges had led the Terps past Penn State's 45 once in the first half, gaining a first and goal at the two, only to settle for an 18-yard field goal.
Dick drove Terps to a first down at the 14, where they moved backfour yards and tired a 35-yard field goal, which was blocked.
The only Maryland touchdown came from 47 yards out, where the goalline jinx doesn't reach, as Dick hit receiver Dean Richards at the 30 and Richards ran away from halfback Rich Milot to the end zone.
Richards caught nine passes for 160 yards - a school record - but even that was not enougn to compensate for the complete breakdown in the Terps' rushing attack, which netted minus-two yards in the deciding second half.
At halftime, Penn State coach Joe Paterno told his players, "Here it is. Now what are you going to do about it? You're going to find out something about yourselves today."
What Penn State found out was Fusina may be in many years. The 6-foot-1 junior is from McKess Rocks, Pa., the town that manufactures quarterbacks. John Hufnagel, Chunk Burkhart, Tom Clements and Billy Daniels all hail from there.
What Maryland found out was that its rushing attack is ill, its offensive line is young, its defense, is given to mistakes and its season is a disappointment.
"We almost got to Fusina, but it was a case of almost," said Maryland caoch Jerry Claiborne, whose 1-2 team is on a losing streak for the first time since 1974.
"We weren't able to move the ball on the ground. Our running game just didn't have it because their interior line controlled ours.They also came up with two big pass plays."
Along with two TD passes, Fusina threw another bomb to set up Penn State's first score, a 21-yard field goal by Matt Bahr for a 3.0 first-quarter lead. Split end Scott Fitzkee made the 48-yard reception at Maryland six.
The play cost the Terps more, though, as defensive right halfback Doug Harbert suffered a broken clavicle after tangling with Fitzkee at the sideline going for the ball.
Maryland had a chance to take a lead just before halftime as Manges complete passes of 18, 19, 7, 4 and 6 yards to lead the Terps to the Penn State 23.
Manges then handed off four straight times to third-string tailback George Scott, who suddenly seemed unstoppable for three and four-yard gains up the middle.
On first and goal at two, where Maryland is always unimaginative, Mages handed off three consecutive times again to Scott, again up the middle, as if trying to prove a point.
The first carry went for no gain; the second moved the ball a yard closer. On the third carry, Scott was slapped back by a linebacker, and kicker Eddie Loncar had to sprint onto the field and hurry an 18-yard field goal with no time remaining and no Maryland time-outs left.
Fusina threw what proved to be the winning score seven minutes into the second half.
On second and seven from his 42, Fusina spotted flanker Jimmy Cefalo on a dead run up the middle with safety Jonathan Claiborne a step behind.
Fusina launched a perfect pass over Cefalo's left shoulder. Claiborne made a dive for Cefalo at the 15-yard line, but he just missed him and pulled a hamstring muscle in the process.
Cefalo caught six passes, two for touchdowns, for 107 yards.
The 58-yard scoring play, plus Bahr's conversion kick, gave the Nittany Lions a 10-3 lead that would get more obese as the game progressed.
On Maryland's next series, the team's leading receiver, Vince Kinney, pluged after an errant throw and sprained an ankle, becoming the third Maryland player to leave with an injury.
The Terps punted and Penn State drove 52 yards for a 37-yard field goal by bahr. That earned a 13-3 lead with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
After the field goal, with the Terps in obvious trouble but not out of it, and the rushing game in critical condition, some observers expected to see Dick.
Instead Manges took the controls again for what would be his final three plays of the day, overthrowing one pass, having another throw tipped and then completing a four-yard screen to tight end Eric Sievers, who was tackled before he could get the needed 10 yards.
Maryland punted again and Penn State drove again, this time for Fusina's 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Guman that put away the game.
Dick's first service ended when Chuck White dropped a third-down pass, but the Terps got the ball right back, and Dick completed throws of 11 and 17 yards for a first down at the Penn State 14.
The end-zone jinx struck again, as Steve Atkins was thrown for a one-yard loss, Dick was shoved back three yards while searching for a target and his third-down pass missed RIchards in the end zone.
Loncar then attempted a 35-yard field goat that was blocked by Randy Sidler.
Dick finally got the Terps a touchdown on the next series, throwing from the Penn State 47 to Richards, who caught the ball at the 30 and outran halfback RIch Milot for a 47-yard scoring play.
Paterno began parading new players in and out, and the Lions put a finishing touch on what would be their third straight win, scoring one more touchdown, a seven-yard pass from backup quarterback Tony Capozzoli to Cefalo.