Maryland scored more points than its opponent Saturday, which is what ultimately matters, but the passing game still has a ways to go before it's smooth and efficient.

"Right now, we're three interceptions away," said quarterback Dan Henning, who threw them in Saturday's 21-19 victory over Virginia. "That's what I have to work on. The protection was excellent and the offensive line did a great job. There wasn't a dropped ball in the whole game. The only other thing was that a couple times Ziz and I weren't on the same page."

But Henning and Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof did connect five times for 85 yards and one touchdown. For the day, Henning was 15 of 26 for 182 yards. The touchdown to Abdur-Ra'oof gave Maryland a 14-7 halftime lead, but the three second-half interceptions contributed to the close finish.

"On offense, we did some good things and we did some bad things," Coach Joe Krivak said. "The good was that we had some drives, we got the running game going and we had a good mix of run and pass. In between, we had a lot of sputtering. And the {five} second-half turnovers were far too many to expect to win a game. We gave Virginia too many opportunities to win the game."

Krivak said Henning came to the sideline after his mistakes, already aware of how he had gone wrong. "If you get a youngster who doesn't understand what he did, you tell him and he gives you a wide-eyed look -- that's something else."

Henning said his arm is as strong as it was a year ago, and Krivak agreed.

"I don't think it's as much the arm as much as that he doesn't seem to be in rhythm or have the confidence of a year ago," Krivak said. "I'm only guessing, but maybe he feels added pressure -- feeling like he has to make things happen as opposed to just playing and letting things happen."

"That was definitely the case on a couple of interceptions," Henning said. "You can't try to take more than you're given. When you try to force it, you're not doing what the offense is supposed to do."

Henning and Krivak said two interceptions -- the first and third -- were bad throws and the second was a bad read.

On the first, which Virginia converted into a field goal, Abdur-Ra'oof was running a post pattern. The pass was underthrown, allowing Virginia's Scott McMeans, who was trailing Abdur-Ra'oof, to catch up and make the interception.

On the bad read, Henning was trying to hit tight end Ferrell Edmunds on a sideline route that had worked earlier. This time, Virginia linebacker Sean Scott dropped into the flat, providing coverage in front of Edmunds. Henning wasn't aware of that change -- "I'd call it a good defensive move," he said -- and the pass went directly to Scott.

Virginia wasted that one as it did the third. On the third, Henning said he held the ball too long, which allowed free safety Kevin Cook to move from the middle to pick off the pass again intended for Abdur-Ra'oof along the sideline.

"We've been inconsistent with our throws and our routes," said offensive coordinator Jim Cavanaugh. "We've had some really good plays and then we've had some poor ones."

Maryland Notes:

Center Bill Hughes, who has a sore shoulder, was back practicing yesterday, but left tackle Ben Jefferson was out for a second day because of intestinal flu. Offensive line coach John Zernhelt said he will wait to see how Jefferson is today before deciding on the starting lineup. Zernhelt said that, if Jefferson couldn't start, he would use John Sorna on the left side.