Maryland lost its second football game of the season Saturday, falling by 45-17 to Michigan but perhaps more importantly, the Terrapins left Ann Arbor healthy enough to return to the win column in future weeks.

The injuries incurred in last season's 41-21 loss to the Wolverines hobbled and hamstrung Maryland for the remainder of the season. This defeat left the team with five injuries of note: H-back Frank Wycheck (bruised back), tight end Bret Boehly (bruised rubs), running back Troy Jackson (bruised left knee), safety Mike Thomas (twisted left knee) and defensive back Bill Inge (bruised sternum).

But yesterday school officials said that while Boehly and Inge were considered doubtful for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech, the other three players likely would return.

That will certainly help Maryland (3-2) but perhaps not as much as the attitude the team displayed after the loss. As was the case in the Terrapins' other loss, an 18-17 decision to Clemson, victory may have been possible if the Maryland offense had been better able to take care of the football.

Against Michigan, Maryland suffered six turnovers, including three interceptions and two fumbles by quarterback Scott Zolak. However, as was the case after the Clemson game, the Terrapins stressed that there was no dissension between the oft-struggling offense and a defense that has been strong for five straight weeks.

"I like Scott, I hang out with Scott and I know he's trying his best," said linebacker Scott Whittier. "He'll make mistakes and I'll make mistakes but we know that the other is trying. We all do. That's why I think we'll be able to bounce back."

Another point made by Whittier is that the successes achieved by Maryland's offense, most notably a passing attack that has thrown for more than 250 yards in each of the first five games, has made Zolak the focal point of the opposing team's preparation.

"We're not going to catch anyone by surprise now, and each week we've been playing better teams anyway," Whittier said. "What we're going to have to do is beat teams physically."

Maryland shut down the nation's leading rushing attack and limited Michigan tailback Jon Vaughn, the nation's top rusher, to 89 yards -- more than 150 under his season's average.

"I was very surprised when I looked at the final score. I felt like it was a one-point game," Vaughn said.

Meanwhile, Navy Coach George Chaump, whose team had a closer score in losing to Boston College, had the unenviable task today of watching films of the 28-17 loss to the Eagles, evaluating individual performances and making adjustments before Saturday's game at Air Force.

"We're just not executing," Chaump said. "We're getting breakdowns on almost every play. Those were two teams trying very hard not to win Saturday. We won that battle. We figured out more ways to lose than they did."

Although quarterback Alton Grizzard had a terrible day, throwing five interceptions and losing a fumble at his own 5-yard line, Chaump said he was not ready to give up on his co-captain and team leader.

"In fairness to him, he wasn't as bad as he appeared," Chaump said after viewing the films. "We tend to blame the quarterback on interceptions, but he had a lot of heat put on him at times. He's had a lot of heat all season and he's been hit hard even when he's able to get rid of the ball.

"I don't plan any radical, drastic changes as such. But we're going to start working {Gary} McIntosh more. He's a senior and he should be in a position to help out and take some pressure off Grizzard."

McIntosh left the team, now 2-2, at season's start when he learned that Grizzard would be the starter, then was accepted back after a 10-day absence. But Grizzard has taken every snap, with sometimes disastrous results. His 10 interceptions in four games exceed by one his total over the past three seasons.

The Howard Bison, meanwhile, had only positive experiences Saturday, and in fact, this season. Howard Coach Steve Wilson was very pleased with his defensive unit, particularly his secondary after the 44-7 defeat of Division II Morehouse. Playing without their best cover man -- Walter Price, out with a bruised leg -- the Bison secondary intercepted a school-record five passes.

Eric Gore had two interceptions, Neal Downing, Keith Hancock and Joe Olidge each had one interception. The five interceptions brought the season total to 11, four fewer than the team had all of 1989. Howard (4-0) had two other interceptions but both were nullified by penalties.

"Considering our secondary was supposed to be a weakness going into the season, the guys have worked hard and are coming along," Wilson said. "Of course, the secret is to put as much pressure as possible on the quarterback and that is what we try to do."

Howard also had a fine effort from Ryan Heathcock, who tied a school record with four touchdowns, three of them on one-yard plunges.

Staff writers Robert Fachet and Donald Huff contributed to this report.