CLEMSON, S.C., NOV. 14 -- Clemson's football team kept itself alive for a New Year's Day bowl game and captured its second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championship by thoroughly dominating Maryland, 45-16, today in front of 78,000 at Memorial Stadium.

"It was a good old-fashioned knock-down, drag-out whipping," said Maryland Coach Joe Krivak, whose 4-6 team is now assured of a losing record in his first season.

The Terrapins weren't out of it until the third quarter, but some of that was due to Clemson mistakes and it seemed inevitable that the Tigers offense would wear down the Terrapins defense.

Meanwhile, the Maryland offense had only two series that might be worth writing home about, but given the myriad of mistakes, it would be a horrible waste of paper.

Maryland led once, 7-3, in the first quarter, but Clemson (9-1) scored three touchdowns and took a 24-10 lead at the half.

After that, it was simply a question of how bad the rout would be. Maryland scored a touchdown with five seconds left in the game, but didn't get to kick the extra point because celebrating fans went on the field. Though it wasn't a great show of sportsmanship, it obviously didn't matter.

The Terrapins were battered coming in and by the time they had finished giving up 528 yards in total offense -- 355 on the ground -- they were in worse shape. Nose guard Bob Arnold broke his left forearm on the first series of the game, and it was only one of several bad signs for Maryland.

"It looked like the beach at Dunkirk on our sideline in the fourth quarter," said Krivak. "They have some big strong kids and people on the perimeter who can run. It's a quality team with a lot of good personnel. It's a big-time program.

"I thought we had a lot of kids who played hard. Then we had some kids who took the pipe. That happens in a game like this. It's a very intimidating environment. We have some kids who can play. What we need is some more help, and we need guys who really want to play."

The Maryland defense had a very long day. Clemson, which had two runners surpass 100 yards, ran 79 offensive plays to 61 for Maryland and had a 15:28 advantage in time of possession.

That's more than a quarter.

Asked when was the last time he was involved in so many tackles (a team-high 17), free safety Chad Sydnor said, "{against} North Carolina State, I guess."

Good guess. In the fourth game of the season, the Wolfpack employed the same offensive strategy the Tigers used today. They optioned Maryland to death. N.C. State controlled the line of scrimmage and optioned the ends and won, 42-14. Today, Maryland stopped the run up the middle, but Clemson controlled the corners.

"We really wanted to go to the fullback on the option," said Clemson tailback Terry Allen, who led all rushers with 103 yards on 17 carries. "But they were jumping on that, so it opened up the outside."

Going against Maryland's 3-4 set-up, quarterback Rodney Williams would option the outside linebacker. That left the cornerbacks and safeties to pick up the pitch man.

But Clemson's two big wide receivers -- Keith Jennings (6-4, 235 pounds) and Gary Cooper (6-3, 190) did an excellent job of blocking Brown (6-1, 183) and fellow cornerbacks Irvin Smith (5-11, 181) and Mike Hollis (6-1, 170).

"They normally do a good job," Allen said of the wideouts' blocking. "They did exceptionally well today. We never had any trouble with anyone being in our face when the pitch came."

Quarterback Rodney Williams made good decisions on the run and when it came time to pass, he shed his reputation for inconsistency by completing seven of 11 passes for 152 yards. He was intercepted once.

The success he and the Tigers had on the ground set up their success in the air.

Williams and Cooper teamed on touchdown passes of 50 and 44 yards.

The first gave Clemson a 10-7 lead with 3:44 left in the first quarter and the second pushed the Tigers lead to 38-10 with 5:57 left in the third.

Both big plays came on post patterns, when no Maryland defenders were covering the deep middle of the field.

"I gave up a couple," said Sydnor, who almost recovered in time to bat the second pass away.

"I was thinking option. I went parallel like I was supposed to {mirroring the quarterback}, and when {Williams} pulled up, I looked for the receiver and rolled with him. I thought I was going to get back and the next thing I know, the ball is going over my head."

Maryland took its only lead with 5:08 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Neil O'Donnell read an impending blitz, and instead of throwing the screen pass that had been called, he hit tight end Ferrell Edmunds over the middle.

Edmunds shed the one tackler who had a chance at him and went 66 yards for the score.

With 1:17 left in the half, Allen scored a controversial touchdown. Linebacker Kevin Walker jarred the ball loose from Allen near the goal line and Brown recovered in the end zone for Maryland.

The officials ruled Allen had crossed the plane of the goal line. The replays didn't seem to agree, though it wasn't definitive. Krivak definitely disagreed.

"That was a critical mistake," Krivak said, "and it had a lot of impact on the game."

Maybe, maybe not. Dan Plocki hit a 21-yard field goal on the last play of the half. But Clemson's Wesley McFadden took an option pitch and went 55 yards to score in the third quarter.

That settled matters, if they hadn't been settled already.

As has been the case for the last three weeks, O'Donnell started and was relieved by Dan Henning. But it hardly mattered. The offense, which didn't get a first down rushing until the third quarter, didn't do much with either quarterback in charge.

"People probably aren't going to believe me at this point," said senior center Bill Hughes, "but I think we're better than our record and the score today shows. We've never reached our full potential."

But if the Terrapins haven't shown it in the first 10 games, what chance is there of that potential surfacing in the finale next week against Vanderbilt?

"I don't know," said Hughes. "I just want to leave here with a win."

Maryland 7 3 0 6 16 Clemson 10 14 14 7 45

C -- FG Treadwell 36

M -- Edmunds 66 pass from O'Donnell (Plocki kick)

C -- Cooper 50 pass from R. Williams (Treadwell kick)

C -- Allen 8 run (Treadwell kick)

C -- Allen 2 run (Treadwell kick)

M -- FG Plocki 21

C -- McFadden 55 run (Treadwell kick)

C -- Cooper 44 pass from R. Williams (Treadwell kick)

C -- Morocco 1 run (Treadwell kick)

M -- Morton 1 run (no kick attempted)

A -- 78,000.

Maryland Clemson First downs 14 24 Rushes-yards 26-72 67-355 Passing yards 233 173 Return yards 13 56 Passing 21-35-4 8-12-1 Punts-average 8-31 4-41 Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-2 Penalties-yards 8-78 12-105 Ti

RUSHING -- Maryland: Lowery 7-26, Spinelli 5-14, Morton 3-13, Beasley 2-10, Walker 2-7, Henning 1-3, O'Donn

PASSING -- Maryland: O'Donnell 12-17-2 145, Henning 9-18-2 88. Clemson: R. Williams 7-11-1 152, Morocco 1-1

RECEIVING -- Maryland: Joines 4-46, Morton 3-20, Lowery 3-16, Edmunds 1-66, Milling 2-36, Johnson 1-15, Bea