COLLEGE PARK -- Forget the 25 completions, 291 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Forget the assault on Maryland's career lists that will push him past Boomer Esiason next season, if not this one.
No, the most impressive statistic for Scott Milanovich isn't a big number, but a small one. Small as in zero, the number of interceptions he's thrown in his last 111 attempts.
The redshirt junior hasn't been picked off since the second quarter at Clemson, in the Terps' fifth game. That's when Maryland couldn't decide on a quarterback, and the offense couldn't get out of first gear. Milanovich got his third straight start yesterday, and coach Mark Duffner's decision to stick with him instead of Kevin Foley looks better every week.
Milanovich isn't racking up the outrageous statistics he did last September, when he passed for 1,607 yards in his first four starts as a sophomore, but he's also not forcing the ball as much as he did then. That was the case yesterday against a Tulane defense that last week allowed Derrick Taite a Mississippi State-record 466 yards. Milanovich has completed 65.6 percent of his passes this season.
"I think the key for us is to keep playing turnover-free ball," Milanovich said after Maryland's 38-10 rout of Tulane. "I feel like I had a solid game."
Milanovich hasn't reached the 400-yard level he hit five times last year, but yesterday's 291 yards were his second-highest total of the season. For his career, he has 422 completions, 5,120 yards and 38 touchdowns. He is second in all three categories to Esiason, the New York Jets starter who set Terps records of 461 completions, 6,259 yards and 42 touchdowns from 1981-83.
Junior Jermaine Lewis is in a similar position on the Terps' all-time receiving lists. For the first time this season, he led Maryland's pass-catchers, with seven for 108 yards and a
touchdown. He's second on the career list for touchdown catches, with 14, and is tied for second in receptions, with 108.
A 35-yard scoring pass from Milanovich to Lewis came in the second quarter, with Tulane down only 14-3. It came after the Green Wave took a procedure penalty instead of a short gain that would have given the Terps fourth-and-10 at the Tulane 26. Instead of 43-yard field-goal attempt by Joe O'Donnell, Maryland went deep, as Lewis bumped cornerback Andre Goines in the end zone and perfectly timed his leap.
"I knew I had to get position," Lewis said. "The ball was coming in, I leaned on him a little bit, but it wasn't a push."
Milanovich aggravated a thigh injury in the first half, and played the rest of the way with heavy tape outside his uniform.
O'Donnell is another Terp who's minimizing his mistakes.
The sophomore transfer from Division I-AA Tennessee-Martin hit his seventh field goal in eight attempts, a 33-yarder in the third quarter. O'Donnell made all five of his extra points, giving him 23 in a row since he missed his first in the season-opener. Five of his seven kickoffs weren't returned, and one went out of the end zone on the fly.
Randy White honored
Recent NFL Hall of Fame inductee Randy White was among the honorary captains, who spoke to the Terps Friday night.
Yesterday, the former Maryland defensive lineman was chosen by the Football Writers Association of America as one of the 25 best players from its 25 most recent All-America teams.
The unanimous selections were defensive back Deion Sanders (Florida State, 1987-1988); wide receiver Anthony Carter (Michigan, 1981-1982); offensive linemen Bill Fralic (Pittsburgh, 1983-1984), John Hannah (Alabama, 1972) and Dave Rimington (Nebraska, 1981-1982); defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon (Oklahoma, 1975); and punter Ray Guy (Southern Mississippi, 1972).
The Terps open next season against Tulane Sept. 2 at the Superdome. . . . The Green Wave last had a winning season in 1981 and has four victories to show for its last 26 games. . . . Buddy Teevens tried three quarterbacks in four possessions in the third quarter. . . . Besides his fumble return for a touchdown and interception, Ratcliff Thomas led the defense with eight tackles.