Clemson's 340-pound all-America defensive middle guard, William Perry, shook hands with Maryland center Kevin Glover after today's game in Memorial Stadium.

"Nice try," said Perry.

Later, Perry amplified, telling the press, "I had a great game."

The Refrigerator's light must be out.

When you lose, 41-23, as Clemson did today, and when you personally get the double whopper with large fries kicked out of you for four quarters, you don't proclaim your greatness.

"I don't know what Perry could have been talking about," said Glover, who gave away 80 pounds and still thrashed the bigger man all day. "Don't know what game he watched."

The Refrigerator was empty today.

Whenever Maryland needed yardage, it sent Alvin Blount (214 yards), Tommy Neal (113) and Rick Badanjek (91) tiptoeing over the supine tummies of Perry and his 280-pound brother Michael for an amazing 406 yards rushing and 577 yards of total offense.

Seldom has a top 20 team -- especially a college club with such size, speed and talent -- been as thoroughly thumped as Clemson was today. Especially when you consider that Maryland only used three offensive plays -- a toss, a slant and a counter -- on its 62 rushes.

"We ran the ball down their throats and kicked their butts," said Maryland 301-pound tackle J.D. Maarleveld. "But at the end of the game, some of their players were still yelling '52-27' (the score of last year's Clemson victory) at us.

"They must be living in the past."

"That's just the way Clemson plays," said Maryland guard Len Lynch, who went to a 7-Eleven last night, bought a picture of Perry and stared at it by the hour. "They talk and intimidate and hit late. But Perry stopped talking in the second half. I didn't hear him say one word . . . All week, Kevin and I kept hearing 'the Refrigerator this' and 'the Refrigerator that.' It really got to us."

Maryland players could have yelled "41-23" at Clemson today. But they didn't.

That's because, first under Jerry Claiborne and now under Bobby Ross, Maryland has a classy, above-board program. The Terrapins may not win national championships, as Clemson did in 1981. But they also don't get put on probation as Clemson has the past two seasons.

Some teams and some people are just a pure pleasure to beat because they deserve a good licking so much.

That's Clemson.

That's the Refrigerator.

Clemson is the kind of team that, after it was put on probation (two years by the NCAA and three by the ACC), had a player selling T-shirts that said, "The best team money can buy" on one side and "On probation and still kicking butt" on the other.

Clemson is the kind of program that allows its players to wear championship-style rings that say "7-0 against ACC teams in 1983."

If you're ineligible because you can't play by the rules, then just declare yourself champion in your own eyes.

Or, in the case of Perry, get pushed all over the field for three hours by a man almost 100 pounds lighter than you are, then disrespect him eye to eye and declare yourself "great" in the newspapers.

Earler this week, Perry said of Glover, "The Maryland center is a good player but he's not very quick. He's never been a big problem for me or anything."

Glover spent the week boiling over that quote. "He definitely showed a lack of respect. I don't consider myself a slouch," said Maryland's co-captain. "I loved it today . . . It was a personal challenge you only come across once in a lifetime . . .

"If you don't stay low and use the right techniques, hit the right landmarks (on his body), it feels like you're pushing a Mack truck," continued Glover as teammates walked past him and murmured, "You owned him . . . owned him."

"I'll always remember one play," said Glover, who may well have other appointments with the Refrigerator in the NFL. "Jeff Holinka and I knocked him backward about 15 yards and when I went back to the huddle I smiled at him. He gave me a nasty little look."

Glover wasn't the only Terrapin who felt vindicated by this day's proceedings.

"I'm glad this game (in Baltimore, not College Park) worked out so well," said Athletic Director Dick Dull, "Because if it hadn't, I'd have been second-guessed even more about 'Giving away the home field advantage.'

"It's also good to see a Maryland football team win two important games back to back. It's a valid criticism that, for years, it seemed that whenever Maryland had a big victory, it was followed by a letdown. That was the case the last two seasons when we followed victories over North Carolina with losses to Clemson.

"Now, if we can beat Virginia (undefeated in its last nine games since losing by 55-0 to Clemson) to win the ACC title next week, that will be a dead issue and I think we'll have reached the point where it can be said that we can really play with the big boys."

That will be good news, just so long as Maryland doesn't start learning how to act like those spoiled big boys, who, when they get beaten, shake your hand and say, "Nice try."