Mike Tice will be Maryland's starting quarterback Saturday when the Terrapins host North Carolina, Coach Jerry Claiborne said yesterday.

"Mike earned the job back," Claiborne said. "He played a good ball game. We feel like he deserves to start again."

Tice, benched in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina State game three weeks ago, entered the Duke game after starter Bob Milkovich had thrown two interceptions, missing wide-open receivers in the process, during the first quarter.

With the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Tice at the controls, the Terps drove 90 yards for a touchdown and went on to man-handle the horrendous Blue Devils, 27-0.

"It's nice to get the win, that's for sure," Claiborne, hoarse from a two-week losing battle with a cold, said yesterday. "But we still made a lot of mistakes. If we do that against North Carolina, we'll be in big trouble."

The Terps hope to get defensive guard Greg Vanderhout, defensive end Jimmy Shaffer, linebacker Darnell Dailey and tailback Charlie Wysocki, all held out of the Duke game, back this week. The only injury Saturday was an ankle sprain suffered by defensive guard Mike Corvino, who was the Terp's best defensive lineman.

After taking a physical beating during its 24-7 loss to Pittsburgh Saturday and with a trip to Notre Dame coming up this week, Navy is going to forget about football for 24 hours.

"I'm not going to do anything different in terms of preparation this week; there isn't much you can do," said Coach George Welsh. "But I am going to give everybody Monday off. I think we need a break from routine. We're tired. At this stage of the season, your problems get to be mental as well as physical. I don't see any point in going as hard as we have been."

The Mids are hurting, with tailbacks Mike Sherlock and Steve Callahan still hobbled and a plethora of injuries on defense. "This has happened the last two years now," said Welsh. "I don't know what it is but we've just had trouble with injuries at the end of the year. Last year it happened after Pitt, this year during the Pitt game. We've been lucky that our substitutes have done pretty well."

Howard Coach Floyd Keith was in a much better mood yesterday than he has been on recent Sundays after his team's 28-12 win over Hampton Institute Saturday.

"We played a solid football game most of the way," said Keith, who scrimmaged his team during the week. "I'd like to think the kind of practices we had during the week had something to do with that because that's why we worked that way.

Keith said he would not know until today whether the ankle injury suffered by tight end Fitz Fowler Saturday was serious. Fowler had been bothered by the ankle all week prior to the game and hobbled to the locker room afterwards.

Wake Forest quarterback Jay Venuto continues to break passing records every time he takes the field. Saturday in Wake's amazing come-from-behind 42-38 win over Auburn, Venuto was 23 for 43 for 358 yards. That gave him 2,100 yards passing on the season, surpassing Norm Snead's 1,776 yards. It also marked the eighth straight time this season Venuto has passed for more than 200 yards in a game.

The Deacons raised their record to 7-1 with the victory, the first time in 35 years the Deacs have won that many games in a season. They travel to Clemson this week with their ACC title chances on the line. Wake is 3-1 in the conference while North Carolina State is 4-1 and in the driver's seat since it has only one more ACC game left -- against hapless Duke.

The early Bowl picture: Rose -- Southern California against (surprise) Ohio State or Michigan.Washington still has a shot at catching the Trojans. Orange -- Nebraska or Oklahoma against Arkansas, Texas, the loser of Ohio State-Michigan or Notre Dame. Cotton -- Houston (barring an upset somewhere) against Florida State, Notre Dame or the winner of Penn State-Pittsburgh if neither loses between now and then. Sugar -- Alabama against the highest-ranked team available.

Believe it or not, five ACC teams remain in or on the fringe of the bowl picture. North Carolina (5-1-1) and North Carolina State (6-2) should go bowling. Wake Forest is 7-1 but has two tough games left on the road with South Carolina and Clemson and is not a cinch to get a bid if it finishes 8-3 because the school cannot sell that many tickets. Clemson (5-2) is just the opposite: 7-4 could probably get them a bid because they do sell tickets. The same is true of Maryland, now 4-4.