CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Call 911 and report a couple of missing defenses.
On a day when sophomore quarterback Scott Milanovich notched Maryland records for touchdown passes and completions, thanks to the fleet feet of Jermaine Lewis, it wasn't nearly enough for the Terps to overcome No. 14 North Carolina.
The Tar Heels tore through a young, porous defense en route to a 59-42 victory under a pristine sky at Kenan Stadium. North Carolina ran and passed at will, and totaled 714 yards, the most ever for a program that started playing football in 1888.
Junior quarterback Pete Stanicek had a career day running the option for the Tar Heels (3-0), who had seven plays go longer than 37 yards, five in the first half when they sprinted to a 38-21 lead. North Carolina's offense was a model of brute efficiency in earlier victories over Southern Cal and Ohio University, but its passing game exploded against a Terps defense that has only one starter back from last year.
Just when the Tar Heels would build what they thought was an insurmountable lead and their thoughts would shift to Saturday's game here against No. 1 Florida State, Lewis would take his world-class speed behind the North Carolina secondary and the Terps would be back in it. Lewis caught nine passes for 250 yards and Milanovich completed 34 passes in 50 attempts for 405 yards and five touchdowns. The 34 completions are a school record and the five touchdown passes equaled the Terps mark.
For all of its outrageous offensive production, North Carolina couldn't relax until it recovered an onside kick by the Terps (0-2) with 2:05 left. It followed Milanovich's final touchdown pass, a 6-yarder to Jermaine Stewart that cut the difference to 52-42.
"We were fortunate that we were in a position to give up that many deep balls and still win a game," North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. "It was obvious that the deep ball hurt us. I don't think I've ever been around a game with as many big plays."
It was a familiar sight for second-year Maryland coach Mark Duffner, whose no-huddle, run-and-shoot attack accounted for 27 school records a year ago. The Terps' defense, however, struggled in 1992 and it continues to be the team's sore spot, having allowed 102 points in two games.
BTC The statistics from North Carolina were overwhelming, starting withthe point total, which matched its highest ever in an ACC game. It was an equal-opportunity 714 yards -- 370 came in the air and 344 on the ground. Stanicek threw for a career-high 288 yards, and senior wide receiver Corey Holliday became the Tar Heels' all-time leader in receiving yards, converting seven catches into 149 yards.
North Carolina has produced more 1,000-yard rushers than anyone in the history of college football, and junior Curtis Johnson and sophomore Leon Johnson moved toward that milestone. Curtis had 168 yards and Leon 101, and it was the first time in Tar Heels history that two backs rushed for 100 yards in three straight games.
It was also the most points ever allowed by North Carolina in a victory, as the crowd of 50,000 must have thought it had stumbled upon a tennis match: Turn one way to watch the Tar Heels go deep, then turn the other while the Terps do the same.
The Tar Heels' quick-strike ability was most on display midway through the second quarter, when in the span of six snaps they lost a fumble and still had two touchdowns. Stanicek's play-action fooled cornerback Gene Green on a 56-yard scoring pass to Holliday, and after two Maryland possessions went nowhere, Curtis Johnson took a pitch from Stanicek and rambled 90 yards up the left side for a 35-14 lead. It was the Tar Heels' fifth touchdown in less than 18 minutes.
The difference grew to 45-21 when North Carolina took the second-half kickoff and showed it could also play ball control, as it moved 64 yards in 12 plays, Leon Johnson going the last 1.
The production came courtesy of four fifth-year seniors on the line who helped North Carolina's offense come in with nearly a 20-pound advantage per man over a Maryland defense that started three freshmen and two sophomores who are in their first year of Division I-A football. After several long gains, the Terps secondary was talking to each other about missed assignments.
"Their offense was nothing spectacular, it was just a lack of responsibility on our part in giving up the big play," said senior linebacker and captain Chad Wiestling, the only Maryland defender who started against the Tar Heels a year ago. "You can blame it on youth, but knowing your responsibility has nothing to do with being young."
A veteran North Carolina secondary would agree. The Tar Heels did a decent job of cutting off the Terps' short routes, but Milanovich kept coming back to Lewis, who came within 1 yard of the Terps' record set a year ago by Marcus Badgett against Pittsburgh. Milanovich's 34 completions broke the school record 32 set by John Kaleo against Virginia in Duffner's Maryland debut a year ago.
The Milanovich-to-Lewis combination bolstered the Terps early, as they went 34 yards to complete a 66-yard drive on the game's opening possession. In the second quarter, they hooked up on a 78-yarder that cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock kept from being a touchdown with a diving tackle that brought Lewis down on the 1. In the third quarter, it was a 67-yard bomb on first down, the Terps' longest scoring pass since 1986.
"Every time we came off the field, Jermaine said, 'I can get past him [Hitchcock],' " Milanovich said. "He's still bothered by a hamstring injury, but there's not a player in the country who can stay with him stride for stride."
Unfortunately for the Terps, their defense still is looking for a team it can stop. Maryland's final defensive breakdown came following the unsuccessful onside kick, as Curtis Johnson cruised up the gut for a 37-yard touchdown that finally closed the offensive show with 1:05 left.
"North Carolina added a wrinkle or two, but they operated the offense we expected," Duffner said. "The big thing is, we've got to stop the big play each and every week."