CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- This time it was North Carolina's multitalented senior wide receiver Na Brown who blew Maryland away with two explosive scoring plays in less than three minutes in the second quarter yesterday on the way to a 24-13 Atlantic Coast Conference victory for the Tar Heels.
Last week it was Georgia Tech's Dez White who crushed Maryland with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the first quarter.
Three weeks ago, Wake Forest's 6-foot-3 wide receiver Desmond Clark climbed over the Terps for eight catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
It's been the same old sour-noted tune every week for Maryland (2-7, 0-6), which has lost five straight this season and 11 in a row in the ACC.
The Terps just don't have one super player yet who can beat people consistently with big scoring plays.
Sophomore tailback LaMont Jordan is close to becoming a breakaway threat every week, but he is still not there.
"We have a talented running back [Jordan]," said Maryland second-year coach Ron Vanderlinden. "But right now everywhere else, we haven't demonstrated to have a player who is going to change the game in any particular moment.
"And so we have to do all the little things right. We can't fumble the ball, have dropped passes on third downs and have guys line up in the wrong place."
Jordan did strike North Carolina (4-4, 3-2) twice for long touchdown runs of 49 and 50 yards yesterday, but his second score came with just 1: 25 left in the game and the Terps trailing 24-7.
By the time Jordan (17 carries, 136 yards) answered a second time, Brown had already put on a scintillating show for the homecoming crowd of 51,200 at Kenan Stadium in his last home game.
"Na's kind of a quiet assassin," North Carolina coach Carl Torbush said of Brown, who had seven catches for 142 yards. "He makes catches, he makes plays. You don't realize what he's doing until you get the stat sheet after the game. I can't think of a better way for one of the best receivers in Carolina history to go out in his last home game."
Brown said: "It's a dream come true. I couldn't have scripted it better. I had a great day and the team got a win. I wasn't thinking about putting on a special show. I just wanted to come out and do my best."
To make the day complete for Brown, he was on the cover of the Carolina Game Day football magazine that was sold at Kenan Stadium yesterday.
Brown wiped out a 7-0 Maryland lead when he raced wide open down the middle of the field and caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Ronald Curry with 6: 07 left in the second quarter.
He came back 2: 38 later with a 48-yard scoring run off a reverse on the first carry of his celebrated collegiate career.
Brown virtually disappeared from the Maryland defense when he went around the right side with a handoff from tailback Rufus Brown, who had taken a handoff from Curry.
The reverse gave North Carolina a quick 14-7 lead with 3: 29 left in the second quarter, and Maryland never scored again until Jordan hit the end zone in the final minutes.
Vanderlinden said of the Tar Heels' successful reverse, "One of our 11 guys did not line up correctly and hopefully would have been in position to make the play. That was frustrating, but overall our defense played well enough to win."
It's back to square one for Maryland as freshman quarterback Randall Jones is no longer the guaranteed starter.
Jones was pulled in favor of junior Ken Mastrole midway through the second quarter, setting up a competition with Mastrole for the No. 1 job next week against Duke in Durham.
Jones had some problems with pitchouts, resulting in a first-quarter fumble, and the Frederick product could only produce two first downs before Mastrole came in with 8: 30 left in the second quarter. Jones completed one of three passes for 11 yards and was sacked twice for losses of 18 yards.
Both Jones and Mastrole were hurt by dropped passes. Mastrole didn't fare much better than Jones, completing five of 18 for 57 yards with two interceptions and two sacks.
Jones said: "It obviously hurts to have a pass dropped and if you have a guy make some great catches like Na Brown, it can get you going."
Jones was referring to a fingertip catch by Brown that went for a 31-yard gain early in the second quarter despite Maryland defender Cliff Crosby's excellent coverage.
Vanderlinden said he would wait until later in the week to determine who would start at quarterback against Duke, the last league opponent Maryland beat, on Oct. 4, 1997.
For North Carolina, Torbush continued to alternate Curry and senior Oscar Davenport at quarterback yesterday, getting a combined 16 of 28 for 193 yards and one touchdown.
However, Curry also ran the ball eight times for 75 yards and is obviously the quarterback of the future as well as a top-notch basketball player for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina's two-time consensus All-American, junior cornerback Dre Bly, joined in the fun yesterday with an ACC-record 19th interception of his career.
Next for Maryland
Site: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.
When: Saturday, noon
Pub Date: 11/08/98