|Maryland back in AP poll, but faces tough path|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 16 November 2008 11:25|
By beating North Carolina on Saturday, the Terrapins became the only team in the nation this season with four wins over ranked opponents. Maryland has won a school-record six in a row against Top 25 teams, a streak that began last year with victories over Rutgers and Boston College.
``I'd like to tell you it's great coaching,'' coach Ralph Friedgen said, ``but it's really kids who rise to the occasion.''
So, after being ranked 22nd in the new Associated Press poll Sunday, Maryland faced a double-whammy after finding out Florida State was ousted after losing to Boston College.
The Seminoles come to Byrd Stadium on Saturday night in a key Atlantic Coast Conference matchup. Not only are the Terrapins a ho-hum 3-3 against non-ranked teams, but they're 0-3 at night.
-2) is to stay on course to win the ACC championship for the first time since 2001. If the Terrapins beat Florida State and Boston College in their final two games, they will earn a berth in the league title game.
Maryland remained in control of its own fate by rallying to defeat the Tar Heels 17-15. Held scoreless since early in the second quarter by a solid North Carolina defense, the Terrapins mounted a 19-play drive to set up the game-winning field goal by Obi Egekeze with 1:42 remaining.
``We knew that if could get this win, it could change the trajectory of our season,'' quarterback Chris Turner said.
Turner was an unspectacular 16-for-31 for 141 yards and no touchdowns for the day, but on the final drive he was magnificent. Not only did the 6-foot-4 junior throw three completions on third-down plays, but he scrambled for a 9-yard gain on fourth-and-5 from the Carolina 32 to keep the march alive.
``He missed some throws that he's been making the last couple of weeks,'' offensive coordinator James Franklin said, ``but he made some big-time plays.''
Turner wasn't the only one. Da'Rel Scott ran for 129 yards and a score, and backup Davin Meggett contributed 86 rushing yards and a touchdown. This, from a running attack that was held to minus-12 yards one week earlier in a 23-13 loss to unranked (of course) Virginia Tech.
f its three losses with wins over ranked opponents.
``That's just the way the ACC is this year,'' said Darrius Heyward-Bey, who became the third player in Maryland history with at least 2,000 yards receiving.
No ACC team has been dominant this year, so Maryland has as good a chance as any to earn a spot in the Orange Bowl as the league champion. And, unlike most of the teams in this balanced league, the Terrapins don't need any outside help to earn a berth in the title game.
The first step is a matchup against an unranked foe. On the positive side, Maryland is 6-0 at home.
``It's the last game at home for all the seniors,'' defensive end Mack Frost said, ``so it's going to be special.''