COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland linebacker Jack Bradford says he wants to put it behind him, but it won't be easy.
How can he banish from his mind a game in which he had 12 tackles, a school-record four sacks, a fumble recovery and a hurry of the quarterback? That's what he had in Saturday's win over Duke, and it earned him the salute as the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive back of the week.
Indeed, Maryland cleaned up. Quarterback Scott Zolak (22 of 33 for 247 yards and a touchdown) is the ACC offensive back of the week for the third time and Barry Johnson (four catches for 92 yards and a TD) is the ACC receiver of the week, also for the third time.
Now Bradford is intent on concocting an encore. The 225-pound senior out of Wilde Lake High in Columbia will bounce it off North Carolina Saturday in Chapel Hill as Maryland goes for its sixth victory -- and first winning season since 1985.
"I'm close to the end of my career," Bradford said. "I want to improve in all areas as we go along. I prayed before the game that the Lord would give me strength. I do that every week, but I felt especially good about the Duke game."
He felt good about it because his body, finally, was whole. He broke his hand in preseason practice and sprained a knee in the third game against Clemson, yet has missed only the North Carolina State game.
"I'm just now at full strength," Bradford said.
At half strength, Bradford still gave the Terps quality linebacking. He is the No. 3 tackler behind fellow linebackers Glenn Page and Scott Whittier with 53, leads the team in sacks with five and is tied with two others in fumble recoveries with two.
"He's the great-effort kid," said coach Joe Krivak. "He's been intense and steady all year, and seems to be having a lot of fun."
"He's very aggressive and constantly gives 100 percent," said co-captain and nose guard Rick Fleece. "The kid never stops moving."
Talk to Maryland's coaches and players and they marvel at Bradford's ability to make the big play.
"He rises to the occasion," said linebackers coach George Foussekis. "When we need a big play, he seems to make it. Part of this is experience. He sees things, and that gives him an edge."
On what proved to be Duke's final possession, with the score tied at 20, Bradford nailed quarterback Billy Ray on third down for his fourth sack, throwing him for an 11-yard loss back to the Blue Devils' 16-yard line. Duke was forced to punt, and Maryland then drove for the game-winning field goal.
"Jack owned the tackle and tight end all day," said defensive tackle Lubo Zizakovic.
Said Whittier, "When Bradford knows it's going to be a pass, he uses his strength and quickness to make the big play."
"I'm not saying he's Lawrence Taylor," said defensive coordinator Greg Williams, "but he's sure doing the job for us."
A three-year starter, Bradford has a career total of 183 tackles. This by a young man who dabbled at fullback as a freshman.
"You've got to beat somebody," Bradford said. "There's a man in front of you. I try to dominate him."
Zolak, No. 21 in the country in total offense with 221.8 yards a game, is tied for second with Boomer Esiason on the school single-season completions list with 176. With three games left, Zolak needs 20 more to catch the leader, Dan Henning, who had 196 in 1986.
Johnson, with 99 career receptions, needs 10 to become the Terps' all-time leader. Ahead of him are Frank Russell (100), Ferrell Edmunds (101) and Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof (108).
Frank Wycheck, already the Terps' single-season record-holder in receptions with 54, had five catches against Duke and is seventh in the country with 6.8 a game.