By yesterday afternoon Maryland place kicker Ramon Paredes was back to being his usual affable self. But only 24 hours earlier he had left the field "with tears in my eyes," having missed the second and third field goal attempts of his college career, either of which could have ended Maryland's losing streak to Penn State, now at 21 games.
"I really felt bad because I wanted six points, but just as much, I wanted one more shot at the end," Paredes said. "I wanted another chance to either be the hero or in the doghouse. I still had confidence."
Paredes didn't get that chance because of Alvin Blount's fumble at the Penn State 24-yard line with 38 seconds remaining, which left the Terrapins 20-18 losers at Byrd Stadium.
Paredes, a red-shirt junior, made a 22-yard field goal in the first half. But he missed two in the fourth quarter -- one from 34 yards, the other from 51 -- that could have put Maryland ahead.
"I was really relaxed both times," Paredes said. "I knew I was going to miss sometime. But I was hoping it wasn't (Saturday). It was a hell of a way to start your kicking career, by missing six points in your first game."
Paredes said he thought the 34-yarder, which the official called wide left, actually went straight over the goalpost.
"It was the ref's discretion," Paredes said. "He could have given it to us. But there was no need to get ticked off at the ref because I should have never made it that close for him to have an option.
"I was a little mad after I missed that one. I told myself, 'This is big-league football, so you gotta play like a big-leaguer.' "
Paredes had plenty of distance on his 51-yard attempt, but it went wide right, not by much.
"For the 51-yarder, I know a lot of people were probably saying it was too far. But that was the last thing on my mind," Paredes said. "I hit it good enough because it went about 55 yards. But I didn't hit it perfect because it didn't curve in like it should have. It just went straight.
"I looked at it and said, 'Why?' Then I took my long walk to the sideline."
Ross said, "Sure, we still have confidence in Ramon. He's going to be a hell of a kicker; all he needs is a couple of games under his belt. He did make one field goal, and he did a very good job with kickoffs (high, and to the goal line). He's got a good leg."
Maryland's big concern overnight was the health of senior fullback Rick Badanjek. Originally, the coaches thought a bruised thigh, suffered early in the second half on his second touchdown run, might keep Badanjek out of Saturday's game at Boston College.
Yesterday, Badanjek had his left leg taped from upper thigh to ankle and a bruised right hand also taped, but said, "I'll probably miss a couple of days of practice, but I'm looking to play."
The Terrapins were in a decent mood, considering that they lost a game they felt they should have won, to a bitter rival.
"I know the fans and all those people are disappointed and probably very frustrated," Ross said. "But I want them to know I'm more frustrated than they are.
"But I'm not down. The game boiled down to three things: One, they did a better job of pitching and catching (passing) than we did. Two, they hit two field goals and we missed two of three. And three, in certain situations, we had chances to win the game and didn't capitalize like I would like us to have."
What failed the Terrapins, surprisingly, was the offense. Ross said the tight ends didn't play especially well, nor did senior Stan Gelbaugh, who completed only 12 of 28 passes with two interceptions.
"We can play better at quarterback and I know we will," Ross said. "We've got to improve our passing game. We ran the ball fairly well (205 yards). But we've got to go back and look at the passing game (137 yards)."
Part of the problem was the inefficiency of the screen pass, which is important to the Terrapins' offense.
"We hit the screen a couple of times early, but Penn State started taking us in man-to-man coverage," Badanjek said. "That's the worst thing that could happen to us -- man coverage. They caught onto it real good."
Maryland linebacker Richard Petitbon was kept at the campus student health center Saturday night after experiencing sickness that Ross said was caused by heat and a blow to the helmet. Petitbon, Ross said, was released yesterday from the infirmary and is fine.