For Maryland and Navy, this is supposed to be a week of suspense in anticipation of meaningful games on Saturday.

The Terrapins, 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, were hoping to play an undefeated North Carolina team that last week was ranked No. 3 in the nation. Underdog Navy would travel to Notre Dame, hoping to upset the Irish for the first time since 1963.

The scenario has changed. South Carolina upset the Tar Heels, 31-13, Saturday and North Carolina, with a very weak schedule anyway, could drop out of the top 10. And Notre Dame is 2-4, tarnishing the meeting with Navy, although the Irish still are 10 1/2-point favorites.

"It would be better if Carolina had won because they would have been ranked higher coming in here this week," Maryland Coach Jerry Claiborne said yesterday. "But I don't think any one can say the game will mean less because they lost. Almost everybody in the top 10 has lost."

The Tar Heels also lost six players with injuries. Starting quarterback Rod Elkins, linebacker Darrell Nicholson, offensive tackle Mike Marr, and defensive tackle Jack Parry are all doubtful with severely sprained ankles. Safety Billy Jackson also is doubtful with a bruised knee.

Tailback Tyrone Anthony suffered a pulled groin, but is expected to practice this week. Linebacker Lee Shaffer, the team's leading tackler, missed Saturday's game with a bruised thigh, and is questionable.

Even though Notre Dame is favored to beat the Midshipmen, a Navy victory would hardly be called a major upset.

"Notre Dame is 2-4 now," Navy Coach George Welsh said yesterday. "This is just another game." The Mids (5-2) won their third straight Saturday, over William and Mary, 27-0.

"I still don't think we should be favored," Welsh continued. "We haven't scored a touchdown against Notre Dame since 1978. I'm also not one to make this game a crusade. I don't consider this a pressure game. Maybe it is for them. They've already lost four games. If they lose another . . . "

Running the football was the key to Maryland's 24-21 homecoming victory over Duke. Senior tailback Charlie Wysocki became Maryland's all-time leading rusher with 3,045 yards by gaining 143. He scored two touchdowns. Wysocki broke Steve Atkins' record of 2,971 on a 54-yard scoring run in the first quarter, just six minutes after his 17-yard touchdown run.

Maryland quarterback Boomer Esiason suffered a bruised right knee in the second quarter and sat out the second half. He said he would practice on Monday.

If Carolina's Elkins is not healthy, sophomore Scott Stankavage will play. Bobby Ratliff would line up at tailback if Anthony has not recovered. Anthony, in three starts since replacing injured Kelvin Bryant, has rushed for 455 yards.

HOWARD: The Bison won their third straight game, with a comeback victory over North Carolina A&T, to finish its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference season at 3-2. Howard, is 4-3 overall in what started as a rebuilding season. "As long as we keep improving, I'll be satisfied," said Coach Floyd Keith, who fielded a lineup that starts only two seniors -- both on offense. Bison receiver Tracy Singleton, with 812 yards, is the leading receiver in Division I-AA.

VIRGINIA: Cavalier Coach Dick Bestwick said his team had "a feeling of accomplishment" despite losing its 10th straight game, 24-21, to Wake Forest in Charlottesville. The accomplishment was gaining 492 yards in total offense. "But we dropped six passes, including two touchdown passes," said Bestwick. "They were all wide open, where everybody could see. I'm not going to get down on them, though. That's life."

NATIONALS: In night games, 12th-ranked Arkansas lost to Houston, 20-17, on Mike Clendenen's 17-yard field goal with 5:16 left; Washington State, No. 16, had 521 yards total offense and defeated Arizona, 34-19. No. 17 Arizona State beat Stanford, 62-36, as ASU quarterback Mike Pagel threw for 466 yards and a Pac-10 conference record seven touchdowns, and No. 20 Florida State, behind freshman Greg Allen's school-record 202 yards rushing, defeated LSU, 38-14.

The biggest upset in the top 20 Saturday was No. 6 Iowa losing to Big Ten rival Minnesota, 12-10. Iowa (5-2) previously was undefeated in the conference. Said Minneota Coach Joe Salem: "I want to thank all the Iowa writers. They were all writing about Iowa and the Rose Bowl last week and not many were even mentioning Minnesota. We just sat quietly by, and by Thursday, we knew our guys were ready to play."