The year was 1961. Joe Krivak was in his fourth season coaching at Madonna High School in Weirton, W.Va. Maryland beat Penn State in football.

Twenty-six years later, Krivak is the head coach at the University of Maryland and his football team will try to beat Penn State today for the first time since the 1961 team coached by Tommy Mont and quarterbacked by Dick Shiner prevailed, 21-17.

The Terrapins, beset by injuries and inconsistency, will be in Memorial Stadium in Baltimore at 1 p.m. to face the 16th-ranked Nittany Lions (6-2), who will be trying to impress scouts from nine bowl games.

"We're going to fight like dogs every game the rest of the season and the kids know that," Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said this week. "None of them are going to be easy."

The Terrapins are 4-4 and 3-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They are not mathematically eliminated from the conference race, but they will need something approaching a miracle to win the title. And if they somehow can beat Penn State, Clemson and Vanderbilt in their last three games to finish 7-4, they might have a shot at a minor bowl bid.

"Who knows?" said Krivak. "They might come out Saturday jumping around like bunch of banshees."

Penn State has beaten Maryland 22 straight times since the 1961 game at Byrd Stadium. The Nittany Lions lead the series, 29-1. They also are coming off a 25-20 victory over West Virginia, in which tailback Blair Thomas gained a career-high 181 yards on 36 carries.

"The key to their offense is Blair Thomas," Krivak said. "People will get to see one of the best running backs in the East. He is a big league back, who has great feet, great change in direction, and can catch the ball. I think we're going to use a box-and-one zone."

With the streak, a victory over Penn State might serve as some consolation. Might. "It's a way to atone for a lot," said Maryland center and captain Bill Hughes. "But it doesn't make up for everything."

It's homecoming today at Howard and the Bison are expecting 25,000 when they play Morehouse College. Last week, Howard had more than 23,000 on hand and this week's tickets were gone by midweek. School officials have had to bring in more bleachers.

Howard (6-1) has won 13 of its last 14 games and is ranked 20th in Division I-AA. The Bison probably will need to win their last three games, including the season finale against Delaware State, to gain a berth in the Division I-AA playoffs.

Bison running back Harvey Reed is the leading rusher in Division I, with an average of 148.4 yards per game. Having broken into the top 10 for career rushing in Division I-AA, Reed needs just one more touchdown to break the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference record of 42, which he shares with John Taylor, who played at Delaware State before going to the San Francisco 49ers.

Morehouse (3-5) has produced some outstanding scholars through the years. One would seem to be Jimmie Davis, who also is the quarterback. Davis -- who was 12 of 23 for 203 yards last week as his team beat Kentucky State, 37-0, to end a three-game losing streak -- has three declared majors: engineering, physics and math and a 4.0 grade point average.

Navy has a tough task today. Eighth-ranked Syracuse (8-0) knows it can't afford to lose a game if it wants an Orange Bowl bid, so the Orangemen should be ready to inflict as much damage as possible on Navy (1-7).

In addition to having to contend with the extremely large and talented Syracuse team, Navy will have to contend with Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson's extremely precise memory.

"I can remember when Navy kicked the crap out of South Carolina," MacPherson said of what happened when the Midshipmen played the then-No. 2 Gamecocks in Annapolis Nov. 17, 1984. That kept South Carolina out of a major bowl.

Also, in 1985, the Orangemen, with Don McPherson at quarterback, won in Annapolis by just 24-20. Navy was driving for what could have been a game-winning touchdown when Troy Saunders fumbled at Syracuse's 3-yard line after catching a pass from Bill Byrne (37 of 52 for 399 yards -- all school records) with just over two minutes to play.

"We've had to fight for our lives every time we've gone to Annapolis," MacPherson said.

After a week off, Virginia (4-4, 2-2 in the ACC) goes to Grant Field in Atlanta to face Georgia Tech, which is 2-6, 0-4 in Bobby Ross' first season. The Cavaliers, who finish the season at home against North Carolina and at North Carolina State, are still looking for a winning season.

"This team has talked from the beginning about winning six games and having a winning season," Virginia Coach George Welsh said. "Now it's up to us to do it."