Maryland and Penn State are scheduled to play each other through the 1998 season. Will it take that long for the Terrapins to finally win again?

"I don't know," Maryland Coach Joe Krivak said yesterday following his team's 21-16 loss to the Nittany Lions on Saturday. "Just because I'm the coach doesn't mean I have all the answers."

If predicting the future is hard, chronicling the past is only a bit easier. Krivak, and the 62,500 who were in Memorial Stadium for the game, saw that the Terrapins couldn't score touchdowns when the opportunities were there. But the answer to the question "Why?" is something the Terrapins have searched for all season.

"We had plenty of opportunities to win," Krivak said. "The defense played well enough to win. The special teams played as well as they have all year and gave a great effort.

"But we had three field goals and missed a chip {25-yard field goal}, and no touchdowns," Krivak said of four scoring opportunities. "That, in essence, was the football game."

The victory was Penn State's 23rd straight in this series, with the Nittany Lions owning a 30-1 edge. The lone Maryland triumph was in 1961.

Maryland's only touchdown Saturday came on an 18-yard pass from Dan Henning to James Milling and cut the Penn State lead to 21-16 with 5:01 left in the game. Henning, who had relieved Neil O'Donnell near the end of the third quarter, was in for Maryland's final chance to win. With 2:22 left and the ball on the Maryland 42, the Terrapins thought they would finally beat Penn State.

"There was no doubt," Milling said.

But there was for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions' Pete Giftopoulous removed it by intercepting Henning's first pass.

"Bad decision," Henning said. "I thought we had a chance. There was plenty of time, we had two timeouts and we had moved the ball fairly well."

Henning, who was nine of 18 for 195 yards, apparently made enough correct decisions and O'Donnell made enough incorrect ones for Krivak to consider starting Henning against Clemson Saturday. O'Donnell, who was making his second collegiate start, was 15 of 29 for 130 yards.

"I don't know," Krivak said when asked if O'Donnell would again start. "When I looked at the film, he had a lot of opportunities to do some things. He had chances and didn't get them done. We'll work both and then make a decision."

The Terrapins (4-5, 3-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) tied Clemson (8-1, 5-1 in the ACC), 17-17, last year when they met in Baltimore. Maryland won in the two prior years. Though they are on the road for their final two games, and thus will in all likelihood wear white jerseys, Krivak said he might use the black ones they wore Saturday at some point next year.

"Maybe when the moon is full," he said.

Meanwhile, Howard had no problem putting up the numbers. The Bison (7-1) took four hours to gain 625 yards and score 54 points as a record crowd of 29,595 watched them beat Morehouse College, 54-7.

The Bison got 132 yards on 22 carries from Harvey Reed, whose three touchdowns established a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference career record of 44 touchdowns. Fullback Ronnie Epps also went over 100 yards, getting 103 on just 10 carries.

Even though Navy was defeated, 34-10, by Syracuse, Navy Coach Elliot Uzelac did not find the game devoid of positive developments.

"I think we saw again that {freshman quarterback Alton} Grizzard is a tough competitor and I thought our offensive line knocked them out of there pretty well given what they had to go against," Uzelac said. Grizzard was named ECAC rookie of the week for his performance, which entailed 18 carries for 58 yards and seven completions in 14 attempts for 101 yards.

Navy (1-8) plays at Delaware this week, then has three weeks off before playing Army, Dec. 5 in Philadelphia.