Saturday was a bad day for Maryland Coach Jerry Claiborne. He stood on the sidelines of Pitt Stadium for almost three hours watching Pittsburgh annihilate his Terrapins, 38-9.
But yesterday morning might have been worse. After watching the debacle on film, Claiborne said something he has almost never had to say in his nine years as Maryland coach.
"They outhit us," he said. "They were more aggressive than we were. That's one of the first times since we've been here that I've looked at the film and seen a team clearly outhit us."
What hurt the Terps most, Claiborne thought, was a span of 2:11 in the first quarter when the Panthers scored twice, first on a 51-yard pass from Dan Marino to Dwight Collins, then, after Mike Tice threw his first interception of the season, on another Marino pass, this one 17 yards to Willie Collier.
"We looked very good on the first couple of series," Claiborne said. "Then they got those two quick touchdowns and we were down, 14-0, and you could see that we got a little bit down. You can't afford to do that against a team like Pitt. We never really got our momentum back after that."
Although the Terps only turned over the ball once, mistakes hurt Maryland against Pitt the same way they did against North Carolina. Twice, Terp defenders -- first linebacker Joe Wilkins, then defensive back Sam Medile -- had chances for interceptions and couldn't hang on. Pitt got a field goal after Wilkins' near miss and a touchdown immediately after Medile's close call. On the ensuing kickoff, the Terps fumbled in the end zone for another Pitt touchdown.
"They outplayed us, no doubt about it," Claiborne said. "But if we make it harder for them to get those 17 points, make them work a little harder for it.
"I was very impressed with Pitt, though. Off film I wasn't impressed with their first three games, but against us, I thought they were excellent."
Now, the Terps (3-2) must get ready for Penn State, a team they have not beaten in seven ties under Claiborne.
"We made a of lot fundamental mistakes Saturday so we're going right back to basics in practice," Claiborne said. "We fell behind and got down the last two weeks so a good start this Saturday will be very important. It won't quarantee anything but it sure could help."
Virginia Coach Dick Bestwick can testify to the fact that a good start means nothing. His Cavaliers (2-2) dominated West Virginia for a half, leading, 21-9. then turned the ball over six times in the second half and got blown out, 45-21.
"It was bizarre," Bestwick said. "The second half was unbelievable. There were things happening out there that I haven't seen for years."
"We should have won the football game. They didn't beat us, we beat ourselves. I'm not discouraged but I'm frustrated for these kids. We can play better than this. We have to play better than this."
Virginia held WVU's big gun, quarterback Oliver Luck, to six of 21 with two interceptions. Luck had been completing 62 percent entering the game. "If you told me we'd hold Luck to numbers like those and lose the game I would tell you that your were crazy," Bestwick said. "We just let things get out of hand."
Hurting Virginia most has been flanker Greg Taylor's hamstring injury and the inconsistency of quarterback Todd Kirtley. "We need Todd to get back in stride soon," Bestwick admitted. "We're capable of beating anyone we play if we play well. But if we don't play well, they can all beat us. We have to start playing better.
They must start playing better by Saturday when their opponent is Clemson. UVA has a record against the Tigers of 0-19. It will have to avoid repeating errors it made Saturday if it plans to do what, until now, been the impossible.
Navy's defense, which allowed Boston College over the 50 only once in a 21-0 victory, will try to stop winless Air Force's wishbone offense Saturday at Colorado Springs.
The last time Navy Coach George Welsh's defenders faced the wishbone was against a Pepper Rodgers' coached Georgia Tech team in 1977. "We won that game but they scored a lot of points on us," recalled Welsh.
"I'm especially pleased with our defense, especially our front four and linebackers Ted Dumbaud and Mike Kronzer."
Navy (3-1) survived the Boston College game injury-free, except for a sprained foot suffered by running back Mike Sherlock in the third quarter. Sherlock missed the remainder of the game and Welsh said he was concerned about the foot but would not know until today how severe the injury is.
Howard fell behind. 28-0, before coming to life in the second half. Still, it was not enough as Florida A&M routed the Bison, 42-25, dropping Howard to 1-2-1 overall and 0-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
"We had such a big mountain to overcome we just didn't have enough momentum to climb all the way back," said Howard Coach Floyd Keith.
"I told them at halftime that we just had to start playing defense. Xs and Os weren't the problem. Nobody was tackling and we weren't covering our seams. I'd like to get us to play a complete football game. Maybe we should scrimmage before the game so the first half would seem like the second half to the players.
"The wrong thing to do right now would be to push the panic button. Our two losses have come to two very good football teams."
In upsets nationally, No. 11 UCLA blanked Ohio State in Columbus, 17-0, and 18th ranked Florida State upended No. 3 Nebraska in Lincoln, 18-14.
To complete the upset list, No. 12 Penn State stunned No. 9 Missouri, 29-21, and Louisana State destroyed No. 20 Florida, 24-7.
Top-ranked Alabama, seeking its second straight national championship, was true to form, exploding for four touchdowns in less than eight minutes in the second half to humble Kentucky, 45-0, and present Bear Bryant with his 300th coaching victory. He is only the third coach, along with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Pop Warner, to reach that milestone. The Crimson Tide extended the nation's longest winning streak to 25 games.
The mind boggler, however, was the 82-42 Oklahoma victory over Colorado. The 124 combined points made it the highest scoring game in NCAA history. The Sooners, coming off an upset loss last week to Stanford, took it all out on the Chuck Fairbanks-coached Buffaloes. The Sooners totaled 876 yards for an NCAA total offense record and also bettered the previous rushing standard with 758 yards on the ground, including 258 by David Overstreet.
In Saturday night games, Heisman trophy candidate George Rogers ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns to lead 15th-ranked South Carolina over North Carolina State, 30-10; Temple pasted Boston University, 53-6; Grambling blanked Prairie View, 68-0, and The Citadel shut out Virginia Military, 28-0.