Finding a respite in its killer schedule, Maryland finally got to play the bully yesterday, cuffing Wake Forest all about Byrd Stadium in a 41-13 rout before a homecoming crowd of 27,554.

"It's great to get a game like today," said Coach Joe Krivak. "It's one of the few times in the four years that I've been here that we were able to draw a breath with seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter."

Not coincidentally, it was the first game in Krivak's tenure that Maryland (4-3, 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) was able to run at will against an opponent. Keeping the ball for nearly 39 minutes, the Terrapins scored touchdowns on their first four possessions -- with most of the yardage coming on the ground.

Maryland rushed 66 times for 280 yards -- its highest total since a 406-yard effort against Virginia in 1984. Tailback Troy Jackson accounted for 152 yards of the total, the most yards gained by a Maryland runner since Alvin Blount had 186 against Virginia in 1985.

In their first six games, the Terrapins averaged 56 yards on the ground. Not only did Jackson obliterate that figure, but he was nearly equaled by reserves Andre Vaughn (10 carries, 53 yards) and freshman Mark Mason (seven carries, 52 yards).

Darren Colvin added 36 yards, scoring two of the Terrapins' five rushing touchdowns. Jackson, Vaughn and quarterback Scott Zolak also scored, and Dan DeArmas kicked two field goals as Maryland equaled its highest point total in nearly two years.

The Maryland defense rebounded from a dismal effort in last Saturday's 31-3 loss to Georgia Tech. The Terrapins benefited from four turnovers, with defensive back Michael Hollis having a hand in each with two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The latter came with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter, two plays after Anthony Williams's 98-yard kickoff return to the 1-yard line threatened to get the Demon Deacons back into the game. On first down, quarterback Phillip Barnhill was stopped on a sneak, but a personal foul against Maryland moved the ball a half-yard closer to the goal line.

Barnhill tried the same play on the ensuing down but was spun around by Scott Whittier and Jack Bradford, and lost the ball.

"All of a sudden the ball was on the ground. I thought the play was dead; I grabbed it just to grab it," Hollis said. "Then I saw the refs pointing the other way."

After the play, Wake Forest was cited for a personal foul -- the 15-yard penalty launching an 11-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard field goal by DeArmas eight seconds into the fourth quarter. Instead of a suddenly competitive game, Krivak was looking at a 34-13 lead -- and breathing easier.

It was a change from last week. On Wednesday the coach cut back on Maryland's practice workload. The following day he delivered an emotional speech about the importance of winning in the Terrapins' final home game of the year.

"It was the best motivational talk I've heard since I've been here," said Zolak, a fifth-year senior. "It woke us up."

Krivak said neither his pitch nor practice variations were "a big deal," and in fact the biggest factors in yesterday's game weren't nearly as subtle. Because of his respect for Wake Forest nose guard Mike Smith and inside linebackers Diron Reynolds and Warren Belin, Krivak inserted a series of audibles into the Maryland offense.

"They never really stopped it. . . . I just picked the side with the least number of guys," said Zolak, who completed 14 of 18 passes for 153 yards. "Everyone wanted to know when we would start running the ball; we were doing it today -- everyone was saying, 'Run the ball, run the ball.' The linemen were saying, 'Run the ball behind me.' "

Jackson was the main beneficiary of that confidence. The junior carried six times for 49 yards on Maryland's first possession, which ended with Zolak going one yard for the touchdown. The next time the Terrapins got the ball, Jackson added 39 yards on six carries; Colvin scored from one yard.

When Jackson scored on a two-yard run early in the second quarter, he had already gained 107 yards, the first time a Maryland back had topped the 100-yard figure this season.

"Anybody could have run through the holes the offensive line was making -- I was just doing my job," he said. "Every week we go into games saying we need more from the running game and we got that chance today."

Colvin scored his second touchdown on a three-yard run, ending a 63-yard, 13-play drive that took 6:25 -- Maryland's longest touchdown march of the season -- and gave the Terrapins a 28-6 halftime lead.

Wake Forest (2-4, 0-3) scored on its second possession of the third quarter, Williams running five yards for a touchdown three plays after a Zolak interception. The Terps, stagnant on their first three possessions of the half, lost six yards the next time they got the ball -- after recovering a fumble by Wake Forest running back Darrell France. But they still got a 37-yard field goal by DeArmas.

Williams came back with his long kickoff return. But when the visitors were unable to score, the game remained in Maryland's grasp.

"All week long we said we were going to play the second half {of the year} like it was a new season," said defensive tackle Lubo Zizakovic. "This was important as a confidence builder, for the defense and the whole team. We wanted to get back to the point where we could say we were the same Terps team that started the year 3-1."