NASHVILLE, NOV. 21 -- Raise the white flag, the Maryland football season has come to an end.

On a beautiful, crisp day in Music City, the 1987 University of Maryland campaign concluded much as it began. There was some inspired play by some Terrapins, but the game was lost in a hail of interceptions, fumbles, botched opportunities and breakdowns. The result of all that was a 34-24 defeat at the hands of Vanderbilt as witnessed by 34,816 frosted fans at Dudley Field.

"Same old garbage," said Maryland center and captain Bill Hughes, one of those who played hard every week. "It's really a shame that the bunch of us {seniors} had to go out like this. Blown opportunities . . . I don't want to take anything away from Vanderbilt, but we killed ourselves again."

The Terrapins couldn't score after having first and goal on the Vanderbilt 7-yard line on the game's first series. They committed five turnovers, three of which were turned into 17 points by Vanderbilt (4-6).

Maryland trailed by that much with most of the fourth quarter left, and though the Terrapins got within 31-24, they couldn't come back further.

"The turnovers saved us," said Vanderbilt Coach Watson Brown.

The Terrapins trudged to the bus for the flight home knowing they finished the season 4-7 (3-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), the first losing season since 1981, when the team went 4-6-1. It was Maryland's worst season since 1971, when the team went 2-9.

Maryland Coach Joe Krivak walked into the interview room afterward shaking his head and wearing a sad smile.

"It's getting to be old hat," said the first-year coach. "In a way, I'm glad it's over. It was a tough year and I'm tired. I want to say how much I appreciate the effort of some of our seniors. I know it's been very tough for them. I feel for some of them who have done everything they possibly could to help us.

"But the result today is what we've been doing for 11 games -- not everybody on the same page, some play hard and some not, turnovers, penalites, missed tackles, big plays given up. The scenario didn't change, only the time and place and people involved."

The Terrapins took the opening kickoff and moved smartly downfield, mostly on the ground. The drive wasn't without passing. Quarterback Dan Henning bootlegged and threw quickly to Carl Morton to give Maryland first and goal at the 7. But like so many other scoring opportunities this year, Maryland came up empty.

Bren Lowery gained a yard, Ferrell Edmunds got four more on a reception and Morton gained one up the middle. On fourth and a yard, Lowery was stopped going over the top.

"It's happened to us before," Krivak said.

After a short punt, Maryland took over at the Commodores 32. But on second down, Henning was intercepted by Andy Baker as he was trying to hit James Milling on a post pattern. Vanderbilt turned that into a 3-0 lead on 20-yard field goal by Johnny Clark with 3:56 left in the first quarter.

Maryland's Sean Scott recovered a fumble at the Vanderbilt 34, which set up the Terrapins' first score. After three incompletions -- the last went through Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof's hands in the end zone -- Krivak went for it on fourth down. This time Abdur-Ra'oof held on for a 23-yard gain. Lowery followed that with an 11-yard touchdown run for a 7-3 lead.

After another Henning interception, Vanderbilt scored as quarterback Eric Jones read the blitz and the man-to-man coverage, and found Carl Parker open for a 14-yard touchdown pass that gave Vanderbilt a 10-7 lead at halftime.

Henning -- who was 25 of 42 for 376 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and was sacked three times -- played the entire game after coming off the bench the last three weeks.

"I'll never again put on the Maryland red and white," he said. "I thought my performance over the last two weeks was good enough that I thought I should start today. Personally, I don't know that I agreed that I shouldn't start to begin with, but that's a coaches' decision and you've got to back the coaches."

Jones capped an 11-play drive with a six-yard run to give his team a 17-7 lead on the first drive of the second half. After Henning was hit and fumbled, Vanderbilt needed just four plays to score. Mark Johnson scored from three yards out for a 24-7 lead.

Henning countered with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Joines, but Vanderbilt responded in kind, with Jones hitting Parker on a 15-yard scoring pass to push the lead to 31-14 with 14:52 left in the game. Moments later, Henning went to Joines again for a 12-yard touchdown, and then, after Kevin Walker caused a Vanderbilt fumble, Dan Plocki hit a 28-yard field goal to cut the lead to 31-24 with 9:12 left.

The Commodores responded with a 4 1/2-minute drive that ended with Clark's 39-yard field goal. And the last real Terrapins comeback ended when Abdur-Ra'oof was separated from the ball for the second time after gaining 34 yards. It was part of a bittersweet day and season for the Terrapins' all-time leading receiver. He had seven catches for 151 yards to finish with 108 receptions for 1,895 yards. But he would be the first to admit he could've had more.

The week has been an emotional one for Maryland, partly because of the season ending and partly because early in the week Krivak had said it may be some while before the Terrapins can expect to field an outstanding football team. Some underclassmen had been bothered by what they read of Krivak's remarks, and though he did not back away from his earlier comments when practice ended for the last time Thursday, he said he tried to explain himself.

"I told them never be afraid to tell the truth," Krivak said. "Since when does the truth get you in trouble? Maybe I should have phrased it {Maryland's future chances} in a different way. But I just indicated to them that we have work to do and ground to make up. It can be done, but it's got to be done by people."

Maryland 0 7 7 10 24 Vanderbilt 3 7 14 10 34

V -- FG Clark 20

M -- Lowery 11 run (Plocki kick)

V -- Parker 14 pass from Jones (Clark kick)

V -- Jones 6 run (Clark kick)

V -- Johnson 3 run (Clark kick)

M -- Joines 30 pass from Henning (Plocki kick)

V -- Parker 15 pass from Jones (Clark kick)

M -- Joines 12 pass from Henning (Plocki kick)

M -- FG Plocki 28

V -- FG Clark 39

A -- 34,816.

Maryland Vanderbilt First downs 20 25 Rushes-yards 32-68 52-261 Passing yards 376 225 Return yards 05 22 Passing 25-42-2 16-25-1 Punts-average 2-37 3-31 Fumbles-lost 4-3 3-3 Penalties-yards 4-30 3-25 Tim

RUSHING -- Maryland: Lowery 17-70, Morton 10-29. Vanderbilt: Crawford 21-125, McCarroll 16-65, Jones 10-51.

PASSING -- Maryland: Henning 25-42-2, 376 yards. Vanderbilt: Jones 16-25-1, 225 yards.

RECEIVING -- Maryland: Abdur-Ra'oof 7-151, Joines 4-63, Edmunds 4-44. Vanderbilt, Parker 6-115, Kosanovich