For Helen Krivak, the highlight at Byrd Stadium last Saturday probably wasn't Maryland's 20-13 victory over Virginia Tech. The mother of the Maryland coach met former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath (watching his nephew, Terrapins starting center Frank Namath) in the press box.

"He hugged and kissed her -- she said she's not going to wash her face again," Joe Krivak said. "I guess when you're 82 you get excited pretty easily." Kudos Around

Quarterback Scott Zolak, H-back Frank Wycheck and offensive tackle Ken Oberle were among the Atlantic Coast Conference players of the week, but one of the unsung heroes was defensive back Mike Hopson.

Hopson, inserted into the game after Dan Pruznik fumbled a punt return, brought back two fourth-quarter kicks for 25 yards, including a 16-yard sprint that preceded the game-winning 51-yard touchdown pass from Zolak to Gene Thomas.

"We put him in under pressure in two situations and he performs and performs admirably," said Krivak, adding that Hopson likely would handle the chores in Saturday's game at West Virginia.

Despite the individual honors and the season-opening triumph, Krivak wasn't concerned about his team becoming cocky.

"We're such a young team, I don't think we could be overconfident after one game, especially with the teams that we still have to play," he said. "It's definitely easier to prepare; everyone's on the practice field and ready to work and you like that situation, but I told the team that it was just one game -- the life and breadth of this team will be evaluated over the full 11 games." Tough Going

According to the NCAA News, Maryland has the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation, with seven bowl teams from the 1989 season and a combined 65-45-3 record.

Notre Dame tops the difficulty list, with eight bowl teams and an 81-32-4 record. The rest of the top 10: Florida, Miami, Stanford, Auburn, Texas, South Carolina, Purdue, Southern California and Maryland. The only other ACC school in the top 40 was North Carolina State, at 39.