As usual, the only lasting licks Virginia players got against Maryland today came from the band. Those clever cads at halftime asked an emptying Scott Stadium: "How many (Terrapin) football players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
"Answer: One. But he gets three credits for doing it."
The latest football exam between the schools ended with Maryland even more overpowering than has been customary. For anyone keeping count -- and Maryland does -- today's 45-14 rout increased the three-year point total to 124-21. Which shows that while he remains a very good coach, George Welsh is no miracle worker after all.
This one was over in a hurry.
So swift and powerful were the Terrapins in keeping a Christmas commitment in Hawaii that the only stats some of us tracked were time of possession. The fun wasn't in figuring whether Maryland would score, but how quickly. The first touchdown took 54 seconds, the second 180, the third 87 and the fourth, just before halftime, 66.
The fifth is worth recalling, it being far more intriguing than what the Virginia play-by-play release said: "D'Addio rushes -- fumbles -- recovers -- touchdown." It was as strange a 28-yard score as this season will produce, starting with quarterback Boomer Esiason's message in the huddle just before the snap.
"I told him," said Esiason, smiling, "to hold onto the ball, to not fumble. Dave said I jinxed him."
Whatever, D'Addio bobbled the ball near the line of scrimmage. But these were gentlemen Cavaliers today, splendid hosts. They had let Willie Joyner bounce off a pile of bodies and scamper 42 mostly untouched yards into the end zone earlier; Maryland screens worked all game, because Virginia's defense acted like a screen door.
Still, it was a huge surprise when D'Addio was able to drop the ball, stoop and retrieve it and still lumber more than a quarter the length of the field -- and across the goal line -- without being stopped.
"Saw the ball on the ground," Esiason said, "and went to go after it. Next thing I see is Dave breaking two tackles and going over."
"(Tackle) Kevin Glover picked two guys off," D'Addio said.
Coach Bobby Ross threw his regulars back in after Virginia scored its second touchdown, early in the fourth quarter, just to make sure the Lenny Klompus Classic would be suitably impressed. That also is known as the Aloha Bowl, and with several minutes still left Maryland grad and television mogul Klompus was dialing area code 808 to lift island spirits.
By that time, a Maryland Island also was having fun. Troy Island is the reserve halfback that nickname fanciers have been rooting to play, often and well, so he could be rhapsodized as Fantasy Island. (The mind does that sort of thing in games such as today's.)
It was so sorry for Virginia that shortly before halftime the public address announcer told all shuttle-bus drivers to report to their vehicles. Lots of fans were waiting for transportation back to their cars. The only lingering Virginia memory is the extra point after that touchdown, the ball smacking a McDonald's sign where it says: "You deserve a break today."
For the Terrapins, who got most of them, this afternoon could have lasted a week. With 1:48 left, offensive tackle Dave Pacella was drifting off the sideline to pose next to a sign that read: "Pacella's Italian Army." Marylanders were into their 38th chorus of "Amen."
All the dwindling Virginia gang could yell was: "We got Ralph."
If Ralph Sampson could play quarterback, or tackle, Welsh surely would have tried him.
Once, Terrapin Mike Lewis took a short pass, turned upfield and started a juking move. There was nobody close enough to fake. Joyner got his 1,000 yards for the season, but that wasn't any challenge; how come he didn't get 1,000 for the game?
"Nobody expected anything out of us this season except ourselves," Esiason said in sum of the 8-3 record. "We proved to the country we're a national football power. Everybody played to his fullest potential, or when he didn't somebody else did."
That was after the daffiest Maryland dressing room scene anybody close to the school could remember. Having won one more national championship than Penn State, the Terrapins are no strangers to bowls. But this invitation included a hula dancer showing more moves than any back Ross ever will recruit.
Outside, several hundred parents and fans thinking about gathering their pennies and drifting west with the team were serenaded by two ukulele pickers and a singer. Chilly and wet, a body can dream. "Can't think of a better bowl to go to," Esiason said. "In my mind."
In his mind, Ross couldn't think of a better way to end a special regular season. His first at Maryland has been a joy. An 8-3 record that for two mistakes could have been 10-1; an exciting, if not lucrative, bowl; university President John Toll congratulating the team today.
"One helluva job," Ross could be heard shouting at one point, "we love you."
Nearby, the turtle had a lei draped over his nose.