COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - After returning to its customary place in the Top 25, California went through an unusual week before taking a rare cross-country flight to face an unfamiliar foe.
The 23rd-ranked Golden Bears (2-0) take on Maryland (1-1) for the first time Saturday. It's California's first trip to the East Coast since 2001, and the 12 o'clock EDT start translates to a 9 a.m. kickoff on the West Coast.
Advantage, Maryland.
``Flying across the country provides challenges,'' California coach Jeff Tedford conceded in midweek. ``But we're going to try to get our body chemistry acclimated to East Coast. We are going to do it while we stay here. We're playing on grass, we're going to practice on grass. There are a few things that we have to pay attention to, no question.''
k into the Top 25 for the first time since last Nov. 3. California has had a place in the Top 25 for 53 of the last 63 rankings.
And Maryland? Well, the Terrapins are coming off a 24-14 loss at Middle Tennessee State and are a 14 1/2-point underdog.
``We are not going to take anyone lightly,'' Cal defensive lineman Tyson Alualu said. ``We've watched a little film on Maryland, and they look like a great team - especially their running back. We want to go there and give our best.''
If the Terrapins are to pull of an upset, they will need another solid game from sophomore De'Rel Scott, who totaled 320 yards rushing in his first two career starts. He ran for 197 yards in Maryland's win against Delaware and scored on a 63-yard run last week.
But the Terrapins' passing game sputtered in the loss, and the defense yielded more than 400 yards. That does not bode well against a California attack that last week amassed 391 yards rushing, including 200 by Jahvid Best, who scored on runs of 80 and 86 yards.
``I think the best thing is that when he runs through that hole, he's not going to get caught,'' Cal fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou said.
California played well in a 38-31 win against Michigan State at home, then did just about everything right in its Pac-10 opener against Washington State. Playing on the other coast against an Atlantic Coast Conference team, however, could bring the Bears out of their comfort zone.
``I've never gone across the country to play,'' said quarterback Kevin Riley, who is from Portland, Or.
And what about that early wake-up call?
``We practiced in camp at 8:00 a.m. a couple of times, but it's more of a mental thing. We just have to be mentally prepared,'' Riley said.
The Terrapins, meanwhile, are determined to bounce back from their poor showing against Middle Tennessee State, which one week earlier lost by two touchdowns to Troy.
``We've got to focus,'' coach Ralph Friedgen said. ``We can't do anything about what happened last week, but we sure can do something about what's going to happen in the future. It's up to us to see what we can do as a team, and as a family.''
The Terps also can make a statement for the ACC, which has endured its share of problems this season against out-of-conference foes - including Maryland's embarrassing defeat last week.
``We're ready. We know they're in the Top 25 and it's an ESPN game, so everyone will be watching the ACC vs. Pac-10,'' defensive back Jeff Allen said. ``We have to be ready and not only show up for ourselves, but for our conference, too.''

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