COLLEGE PARK -- Just when coach Joe Krivak thinks his Maryland football team is beset by a myriad of troubles, something happens to bring him up short.
Friday night, on the eve of the Terps' 31-3 drubbing from Georgia Tech, Krivak received a phone call. The father of backup center Terry Sauerbry, a freshman from Langhorne, Pa., had suffered an aneurysm. Before the weekend ended, the player's father was dead.
"Forty-one years old," Krivak said. "Successful businessman. Sometimes we forget that life is so fragile.
"This has happened a lot of times in our four years here. [Safety Johnny] Vessels' father had a major heart attack last year.
"We need at times to try to keep from getting caught up in other things going on in our lives. Hey, things aren't so bad."
* Rest assured that Wake Forest nose guard Mike Smith will be emotionally ready for Maryland. A product of Olney, Smith, the youngest of 11 children, will play before 50 family members and friends Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
The 278-pound senior has 33 solo tackles, eight more than any other Deacon.
* The Maryland-Wake game will signal the end of the Terps' home season and the beginning of Phase I of the renovation of Byrd Stadium. Work will start next week on a new press box and the refurbishing of the south stands around to the halfway point of the closed end of the horseshoe.
The bowl will be resurfaced and new permanent seats installed in time for the opening of next season. Phase II, embracing the north side, will start after the 1991 home season.
* Barry Johnson is creeping up on Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof, the Terps' all-time pass reception leader with 108 from 1984 to '87.
Johnson made five catches for 82 yards against Georgia Tech to raise his career total to 93, with five games remaining. The senior wide receiver is No. 4 on the list behind Ra'oof, Ferrell Edmunds (101 from 1984-87) and Frank Russell (100 from 1972-74).
* Mark Mason, a true freshman from Potomac, burst to the top of the team list in average yards per kickoff return (25.8) with a four-return, 103-yard day against Georgia Tech. His best was 34 yards, the Terps' longest of the season.
* Although hampered by a sore back, H-back Frank Wycheck caught three passes for 53 yards and moved into third place on Maryland's all-time single-season reception list with 45. He needs seven catches to overtake Greg Hill and three to pass Tom Brown.
Wycheck is tied for fourth in the country in catches per game with 7.50.
* Gene Thomas had a career-high four catches against Tech, but for only 26 yards. His previous seven receptions totaled 241 yards.
* Quarterback Scott Zolak, despite season lows in attempts (33), completions (16) and yards (192), not to mention a high of 10 sacks, is No. 18 in the nation in total offense at 233.5 yards.
* Dan De Armas has nailed all 33 of his career extra points to extend the Terps' string to 151, an Atlantic Coast Conference record. Jess Atkinson started the streak in 1984 and was followed by Ramon Peredes and Dan Plocki.