The surprise of the college football weekend is that 4 1/2 -poin underdog Maryland not only was able to beat Virginia, 17-6, but held the Cavaliers without a touchdown.
Last year Virginia was a high-scoring team, was ranked No. 1 in the country for three consecutive weeks, and went to the Sugar Bowl. Even in an upset loss to Maryland, Virginia scored 30 points (score: 35-30).
Of course, four players from that team are now in the NFL -- Herman Moore, Detroit; Shawn Moore, Denver's development team; Bruce McGonnigal, Cleveland; Tony Covington, Tampa Bay.
"Our defense did a tremendous job," enthused Terps coach Joe Krivak after Saturday's opener, and to be sure it did.
But Virginia self-destructed this time. The Cavaliers had six fumbles, losing four of them.
"Turnovers make the difference in wins and losses," said the losers' coach, George Welsh. "We've been good at that over the years, and there was no indication in preseason practice that this would be a fumbling team. But you don't get hit in practice like you do in a game."
You don't have to be as experienced as Welsh, who has been a head coach 19 years, the first nine at Navy, to understand how fumbles can kill you.
Said Maryland senior cornerback Scott Rosen simply enough: "If you fumble four or five times in a game, I'll bet you lose that game."
Precisely, as Virginia proved.
* A little appreciated fact is that Virginia, though it has finished first or second the last four years more than any team in the ACC, is in a terrible slump.
The Cavaliers have now lost four straight (they lost to Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl to end last season) and five of their last six. They lost to Georgia Tech last year two weeks before bowing to the Terps.
Maryland faces another toughie this Saturday (7 p.m.) when Syracuse comes to Byrd Stadium. The Orange opened with a 37-10 win over Vanderbilt.
* Maryland certainly won't be helped by the loss of starting tackle Steve Ingram. He broke a bone in his right leg and will be out six to eight weeks. Before Ingram even went to the hospital for X-rays, Dr. Stan Lavine knew the bone was broken.
"I couldn't feel anything," said Lavine, a onetime Terp quarterback who has been Maryland's team doctor for almost three decades, "but he told me it was broken. When they tell you it's broken, it's broken."
* Chances are Virginia will get its first touchdown of the year this Saturday (7 p.m.) when the Cavaliers entertain Navy.
Last Saturday night, favored Navy gave up 33 points to Ball State and lost by 23.
It seems to me that Navy, in an attempt to add wins by softening its schedule (the Middies haven't had a winning season since 1982), is going about this wrong.
Teams like Ball State, Akron, James Madison, Bowling Green and Toledo are far from guaranteed wins. If Navy beats them, no one is impressed; if the Middies lose to them, their fans are horrified. The Mids would be better off playing opponents like Vanderbilt, Northwestern and the Ivies. At least it doesn't sound so bad if you happen to lose to them.
* Some of Pam Shriver's good friends back here in Baltimore have been saying that, at 29, she should hang it up. She hasn't won a singles title in a long time.
But if Shriver can win the U.S. Open women's doubles championship as she did with the Soviet Union's Natalia Zvereva yesterday -- Shriver's fifth -- she shouldn't quit. The $163,500 pocketed by Shriver-Zvereva will keep Pam going.
* Johns Hopkins lacrosse coach Tony Seaman, who lost assistant Dave Pietramala to Penn, has replaced Petro with his ++ roommate, best friend and fellow defenseman with the Mount Washington Club -- Ron Klausner.
Klausner, who played at Towson State, was on Carl Runk's staff last season, the best TSU has ever had, advancing to the NCAA championship game.
Another ex-Hopkins defensive great, 1991 first team All-America Brian Voelker, reported to work last week at Princeton as an assistant to coach Bill Tierney.
"I've been talking to Brian about this since he was a sophomore," says Tierney. Another Baltimorean, ex-Loyola High and Delaware player David Metzbower, is now in his third year on Tierney's staff.