Mason, the team's leading rusher and the Atlantic Coast Conference's leader in all-purpose yards, will miss the remainder of the season because of a fractured left shoulder, team officials announced yesterday.
TC Mason, 5 feet 8 and 190 pounds, from Potomac, suffered the injury while being tackled on his second rushing attempt with nearly nine minutes left in the first period Saturday night. It was only Maryland's third offensive play of the game.
This will be the second straight year Mason, who had 516 yards rushing and 712 all-purpose yards before the game, will not finish the season. He missed the last six games in 1991 after breaking his right leg against Georgia Tech. That injury also occurred in the fifth game while Mason was leading the ACC in all-purpose yards.
"I really feel for him," said Mike Jarmolowich, Maryland's senior inside starting linebacker. "He worked real hard during the off-season and was having a great year. He was one of our team leaders."
Mason is expected to see team doctor Stan Lavine today, along with No. 2 back Larry Washington.
Washington, a sophomore from Randallstown High, was expected to get a lot of playing time Saturday, but the timetable was moved up when Mason got hurt. Washington, a high school All-America, played well, rushing for 44 yards on seven carries before spraining a knee with 6:34 left in the first half.
"I don't know when I'll practice, but I'll be ready for Saturday [vs. Georgia Tech]," said Washington.
If Washington can't play, sophomore Doug Burnett would become the team's No. 1 runner. After Washington went down Saturday, Burnett finished with 86 yards rushing on 24 attempts.
Maryland coach Mark Duffner said yesterday the Terps will move sophomore Raphael Wall, from Columbia's Wilde Lake High, from safety to running back.
Despite the running back situation, the Terps were confident and still in a celebratory mood yesterday.
"The win was great for the kids," said Duffner, the Terps' first-year coach. "It finally gave them a chance to release some of that frustration and emotion from earlier in the season. We've run the whole gamut this year, from great high to great lows. Now it's nice to get a victory."
Said Jarmolowich: "We want to make winning contagious. We've got six games left, and a good chance of winning all of them. It's a new season for us."
The Terps (1-4) were coming off a humiliating 49-13 loss to Penn State, and could have folded when they allowed Pitt (2-3) two third-quarter touchdowns for a 27-24 lead with 3:37 left in the third period.
Instead, the Terps fought back, and finally sealed the victory on a 9-yard touchdown run by Burnett that put them ahead 47-27 with 3:49 remaining. The victory broke a nine-game losing streak.
The Terps and Panthers kept the Byrd Stadium crowd of 35,891 on its feet for most of the game with an impressive aerial show.
The teams combined for 1,109 yards. Quarterback Alex Van Pelt, operating from Pitt's one-back set, completed 28 of 46 passes for 395 yards and four touchdowns. Maryland quarterback John Kaleo, out of the run-and-shoot, completed 24 of 37 for a school-record 415 yards and three scores. Two of the touchdowns were to wide receiver Marcus Badgett, who had 11 receptions for a school-record 251 yards.
"Look at other programs that have been rebuilt," said Maryland senior cornerback Scott Rosen. "They all started out losing, and then one win turned their season and programs around. It happened at Georgia Tech. It happened at North Carolina. It can happen here."