Chuck Faucette, the Maryland linebacker, had the perfect reaction to today's surreal happenings in the Orange Bowl.

He fainted.

With a minute or so left, and Maryland having scored 42 points in the second half for the greatest comeback in the history of major college football, the hard-nosed Faucette teetered on his heels, then on his toes, then went to the bench and passed out.

Maryland, after trailing by 31 points at halftime, scored six touchdowns in the second half and stopped Miami's two-point conversion attempt with one minute to play to complete a 42-40 upset of the defending national champions that left 31,548 as out of breath as Faucette.

The victory, perhaps Maryland's biggest since the glory years of the '50s, sent the Terrapins soaring into next week's game against Clemson with a 6-3 record.

"I don't know if there's ever been a greater comeback in football, college or anything else," Maryland Coach Bobby Ross said afterward. "It's just . . . well . . . amazing."

Several bowl scouts felt the same way, including Lenny Klompus, who represented the Aloha Bowl. If the Terrapins beat Clemson or Virginia in the season finale, there is a good chance Maryland will spend the Christmas holidays in Hawaii for the second time in three years.

Miami, ranked No. 6 in the country, came into today's game with greater aspirations -- a chance at the national championship. It had the best home record over the last six years (27-3) of any team in the nation, and a victory here seemed almost certain after the Hurricanes (8-3) took the 31-0 lead at halftime.

But Maryland, after having only 57 yards of total offense the first half, switched from Stan Gelbaugh to Frank Reich at quarterback. And Reich, who had lost his job, reclaimed it today by completing 12 of 15 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns.

"You've always got to believe in athletics that you can do something like this," Reich said. "People might not understand how, but I honestly believed we could. If we all didn't believe, it couldn't have happened."

Many Maryland players walked from the field wide-eyed, appearing stunned. A lot of players cried.

"Damn right, and I was one of them," said Faucette, minutes after coming to. "Oh, God, this is the greatest thing that's ever happened."

Ross didn't do a lot of screaming in the locker room at halftime but said he tried to "appeal to their personal sense of pride."

There was one other little thing. Ross told his players that if they didn't play harder, they would practice at 9:30 tonight when their charter flight returned to Washington.

What reward do they get for completing the greatest comeback in history? "They don't have to practice," Ross said.

When Reich pushed into the end zone from one yard out with more than five minutes left in the third quarter to make it 31-14, Ross recalled, "It was at that point that I thought we had a real shot at it."

Maryland took the lead for good, 35-34, on Reich's 68-yard touchdown pass to Greg Hill. Hill had gone into the huddle earlier and told Reich that he could beat cornerback Tolbert Bain deep because he was playing close to the line of scrimmage. "They weren't respecting us," Hill said.

Reich told Joe Krivak, the offensive play caller, and they decided to take Hill's advice. On first down, Reich threw deep, and Hill had at least three steps on Bain.

The pass was well thrown, but safety Darrell Fullington came from the other side of the field and got both hands on the ball. It slid off his fingers, though, and Hill took the deflection the last 30 yards for the touchdown.

Maryland's next touchdown -- a four-yard run by Rick Badanjek following J.C. Penny's fumble on the kickoff -- became crucial.

Richie Petitbon intercepted Kosar, and Maryland got the ball back at its 34 with 2:55 to play. But on fourth down Eddie Shultz made a poor punt snap and Darryl Wright was trapped for a 14-yard loss.

Three plays later, Kosar (30 of 50, 363 yards) threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day, a five-yarder to Eddie Brown.

If Miami could convert the two-point attempt, Maryland -- after the greatest comeback ever -- might have to settle for a tie.

Kosar threw to halfback Melvin Bratton, who caught the ball and was immediately cut down by Keeta Covington short of the goal line.

"We were in zone defense," Covington said. "They had called the same play, and it had worked earlier but we were in a different coverage then. It was my zone and I saw the play clearly."

Covington had saved the game in the third quarter by catching Bratton at the end of a 53-yard reception/run at the eight. That tackle netted Maryland four points when Miami settled for a field goal.

Miami's last chance was to recover an onside kick. After that, the Hurricanes would have one timeout remaining and Kosar on their side.

But Joe Kraus, who had played exceptionally all day at cornerback, even in the first half when few of his teammates did, jumped in the air to field the ball. "The first thing you want to remember on an onside kick situation is to just cover the ball," Kraus said. "Fall on it.

"But when I came down with it, I looked around and I didn't see any of their players around." He went up the middle for 47 yards, to the one. "I was mad," Kraus said, smiling about not getting his touchdown.

Maryland killed the clock rather than really try to score from there, even though some of the Terrapins wanted to.

Faucette was one of more than a dozen players to talk openly about how much the cocky Miami players talked and taunted the Terrapins when they were down, 31-0.

Faucette, Kraus and Donald Brown told of how Miami players kept saying, "Come on, Maryland, at least make it close."

Faucette said, "It was so great to shut them up. To shut their crowd up. they weren't saying nothing in the fourth quarter. Bernie Kosar was the only guy who wasn't talking trash. You don't know how much satisfaction I get out of us shutting them up."

Kraus added, "They were talking trash all day, but at the end of the game, they wouldn't even come over and say, 'Nice game.' "

Miami just walked off in anger. Coach Jimmy Johnson said, "This is the most disappointing loss I have ever been associated with."

Kosar, who found Maryland playing with more conventional coverages in the second half, said, "They made some adjustments in the second half, but nothing we shouldn't have adjusted to. We just didn't execute well."

The only disappointment for the Terrapins was that they still had curfew tonight.

Faucette, upon hearing the news, said, "Oh no. You know, we need to stick around here tonight and just raise a few toasts."