CLEMSON, S.C. -- On a wall adjacent to the University of Maryland locker room hung a sign: Joe, Please Krivakuate.
These are tough times at Maryland, and they became tougher DTC yesterday, as the Terps were routed by Clemson, 40-7, in front of 73,000 at Memorial Stadium. The Tigers clinched their first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 1988 and an automatic bid to the Florida Citrus Bowl.
The statistics show that Maryland (2-8, 2-4) never seemed to be in the game. Clemson (7-1-1, 5-0-1) had 460 yards of total offense, compared with 214 for Maryland. The Tigers controlled the ball for nearly 11 more minutes and had 169 return yards to 1 for the Terps.
But put away the statistics because the Terps had a chance to at least be competitive in this one. The differences were that Clemson made the big plays and Maryland didn't. The Tigers also made the smart plays, and Maryland made the dumb, and at times, inexplicable ones.
"These things seem to happen when things aren't going good, and things haven't been going good for at least three to four weeks," said Krivak, 20-33-2 in five years.
Here's the proof from yesterday:
* Maryland gave up two long passes, one a 43-yard touchdown pass from DeChane Cameron to Terry Smith with 14 minutes, 11 seconds left in the second period. The other, 52 yards, set up Clemson's first touchdown. In both cases, the defensive backs were running stride for stride with the receivers but didn't raise their hands to knock down the ball.
* Maryland had a crucial drive stopped midway through the second quarter because of a delay-of-game penalty. The play called: a quarterback sneak.
* Strong safety Ron Reagan dropped a possible interception for a touchdown with 11 seconds left in the half.
* Quarterback Jim Sandwisch twice overthrew receivers for possible long touchdown passes.
* Maryland outside linebacker Mike Jarmolowich "accidentally" roughed the kicker, keeping alive a Clemson drive that resulted in a third-period touchdown.
* During the second quarter, Clemson punt returner Robert O'Neal signaled for a fair catch, only to have Maryland tight end Brett Stevenson push him out of the way, turn 180 degrees and catch the ball in the air. Stevenson got a 5-yard penalty.
Krivak is in the first year of a renewed four-year guaranteed contract worth $94,000 a year, but his status for next year won't be determined until he meets with athletic director Andy Geiger after the season.
Geiger was not available for comment. Krivak had little to say, except that the Terps had to improve recruiting to fill holes and had to get the four starters who were injured this year back for next season. Maryland also had three defensive starters declared academically ineligible two weeks ago for the season. All were seniors.
Krivak got an endorsement from Clemson second-year coach Ken Hatfield, whose team won its 13th ACC title and first under Hatfield.
"You have to give credit to Maryland," said Hatfield. "They probably play the toughest schedule in America. The athletic director who made that schedule ought to have to line up and play it. Coach Krivak has done an admirable job this season. He has really been hurt by injuries. My hat is off to him as well as to his players and coaches."
Maryland did make one big play yesterday. Sandwisch, who completed eight of 18 passes for 115 yards before being relieved by John Kaleo late in the third quarter, hit wide receiver Jason Kremus for a 56-yard touchdown on the game's first offensive possession.
There were two other potential touchdown passes when Maryland had the defenders beaten by more than 5 yards.
"I thought they were good passes. I put them out there and tried to let the receivers run under them," said Sandwisch.
"Of course, since I didn't complete them, I would have done it differently if I had to do it over again."
After the touchdown, the Terps went nearly 21 minutes before their next first down. Meanwhile, Clemson scored on a 1-yard run by fullback Tony Kennedy, a 27-yard field goal by Nelson Welch and Smith's 43-yard touchdown reception.
"I know the guys in the secondary try hard, and you can't argue with the effort, but every time the other team throws a long pass, I just hold my breath," said Jarmolowich. "It's frustrating to get a team in third-down-and-long situation and give up a bomb."
Maryland had two opportunities before the half to turn the momentum. The Terps had worked from their 40 to the Clemson 31, where they faced fourth-and-one. Sandwisch seemed to get the first down on a sneak, but the officials ruled he never got the play off with 5:16 left. Maryland was forced to punt.
"We got the play signaled in with a lot of time, and I thought we hiked it with two seconds left on the play clock," said Sandwisch. "It hurt us."
The other play came with 11 seconds left in the half and Clemson at the Maryland 4. Cameron tried a short out pass to receiver Larry Ryan, but Reagan stepped in front with a clear field ahead -- and dropped the football. Welch kicked a 22-yard field goal to end the half.
"I took my eye off it for just a moment," said Reagan. "There were about 10 to 12 plays that really made the difference. That was one of them."
How bad was it?
A look at some of the key stats in Maryland's 40-7 loss to Clemson yesterday.
.. .. .. .. .. .. ..Maryland.. Clemson
First Downs.. .. .. .. .. 15.. .. ..25
Rushing yards.. .. .. .. .39.. .. .230
Passing yards.. .. .. .. 175.. .. .230
Return yards.. .. .. .. .. 1.. .. .169
Time of possession .. .24:43.. ..35:17