By early yesterday afternoon, Joe Krivak had finished the masochistic chore of watching the film of his team's devastating 42-14 loss to North Carolina State Saturday night. Now it was time to wonder out loud if his team has what it takes to be anything other than mediocre.

"It's almost a weekly ritual," Krivak said when asked if he could sense a problem in practice. "One day a week, we don't do what we're supposed to do. I talk to them, yell and scream. But you can't do that all the time. Somewhere along the way, there's got to be some inner motivation. The players have to take some responsibility. You can only yell and scream so much. Then you either learn from it or it means you don't care. That's what's most disturbing."

There was a bit of positive news yesterday. Although inside linebackers Kevin Walker and Richie Petitbon left the game in the first half with ankle injuries, a team spokesman said both might be available to play in the Terrapins' next game, Oct. 10 against fifth-ranked Miami. Petitbon has a badly sprained right ankle and Walker has a strained tendon in his left ankle. Both will have precautionary X-rays taken today.

The Terrapins started 11 seniors, 10 of them fifth-year seniors, Saturday night against a North Carolina State team that had been 0-3 and was a 14-point underdog. When it was over, it was Maryland's greatest margin of defeat since losing to Pittsburgh, 38-9, in 1980.

There are 18 fifth-year seniors on this team -- more than enough to provide some leadership. Asked if he is surprised by the lack of inner motivation, Krivak said, "Somewhat. I thought we had a lot of seniors, and I said early on that I thought the chemistry was good. There was a drive, a determination. But sometimes it doesn't appear to be there."

The Terrapins were a bit surprised when they lost the opener to Syracuse, but Krivak said Saturday night's debacle was worse.

"Sure," he said. "When you look at it on paper, I think we're better {than North Carolina State}. But that's why they make you play the games. Not always does the best team win. I don't want to take anything away from them. They played hard, really executed. They ran the option well, the toss sweep, and just knocked us off the ball."

Maryland (2-2, 1-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) will be off next weekend before playing Miami in the Orange Bowl. The fifth-ranked Hurricanes beat 10th-ranked Arkansas, 51-7, Saturday in Little Rock.

"With what they did to Arkansas and the way they played Florida {a 31-4 win}, they are one of the very best teams in the country," Krivak said. "We're a far, far cry from that."

Having played well in beating West Virginia last week, the Terrapins played poorly at N.C. State.

"Why? If I knew why, I wouldn't feel so depressed," Krivak said. "It's the same ball club. I wish I had an answer. We've talked to them about some things: practicing hard, playing hard and getting better each week. Provided the material you're given is nearly equal, the team that does that is going to win."

The Wolfpack (1-3, 1-1) gained nearly 500 yards in total offense, and stopped Maryland on defense when the Terrapins weren't stopping themselves. Maryland had nine penalties for 73 yards. Quarterback Dan Henning was sacked three times and was hurried, hassled and harassed numerous other times.

"Offensively, it was one of the poorest games I can remember," Krivak said. "We broke down so many times on assignments. The defense played better in the second half, but in the first half, we let people run by us. We were not coming off the blocks, not hustling, not tackling."

North Carolina State switched quarterbacks. In replacing sophomore Shane Montgomery, redshirt freshman Preston Poag made the most of his opportunity. The N.C. State coaches felt they could run the option successfully against Maryland and Poag did a fine job pitching and passing. He finished with 15 completions in 21 attempts for 116 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was one of six Wolfpack runners to rush for more than 30 yards as N.C. State ran for 376 yards and had 492 yards total offense.

"I thought he did an excellent job," N.C. State Coach Dick Sheridan said. "He didn't make many errors. For his first college start, I thought he did a fantastic job. He made some good reads on the option and he threw the ball well."

Poag directed N.C. State on a 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game, and the Wolfpack followed up with three consecutive scoring drives for a 28-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. By halftime, it was 35-7, which is to say it was over.

If Maryland is in tough shape, Navy is in worse. With his team 0-3 and with a 10-game losing streak, the best way to describe Navy Coach Elliot Uzelac right now is incredulous. After each of Navy's first two losses, he said over and over again that his players can do the job. Now, after a 45-14 thumping by North Carolina, it seems that his conviction has been shaken at least a little.

"I really thought we'd be better than this and all indications were that we would be," said Uzelac.

Asked if the Midshipmen were making new mistakes each week or repeating old ones, Uzelac replied, "I see old ones. I see new ones. It seems like every time we get something squared away, something else pops up."

Things are considerably brighter in Charlottesville and along Georgia Avenue in the District.

Virginia (2-2, 1-1) won its second game in row, ending Duke's three-game winning streak, with a 42-17 homecoming victory at Scott Stadium.

Howard (3-0) increased its winning streak to 10 games by defeating South Carolina State, 31-22, at Greene Stadium.

The Bison (3-0) again racked up the points, with halfback Harvey Reed running for 106 yards on 23 carries to become the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's all-time leading rusher. But the defense also came through, allowing two touchdowns, and one of those came in the final seconds of the game.

Nationally, there were several matchups between top 20 teams, which could mean movement in this week's rankings. No. 4 Louisiana State and No. 7 Ohio State tied, 13-13. No. 2 Nebraska should keep that spot after beating No. 12 Arizona State, 35-28, in Tempe. No. 11 Tennessee scored a late touchdown and then kicked the extra point to tie No. 3 Auburn, 20-20.