No. 22 Maryland Gears Up for Showdown With Florida State
Nov. 20, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A sign within the Maryland football team's locker room reads `917 miles to Tampa Bay'. After Saturday's showdown with Florida State, though, that distance might seem much closer.
No. 22 Maryland is fully aware of what is at stake when it takes on Florida State in the nationally-televised home finale at Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium (7:45 p.m. kickoff). Sitting atop the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division, the Terps (7-3, 4-2) control their own destiny as they strive for a division title and a trip to the conference championship game, to be played Dec. 6 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay.
A Maryland victory over the Seminoles (7-3, 4-3) coupled with a Boston College loss at Wake Forest would secure the program's first berth in the ACC title game, which has been used to determine the conference's champion since 2005.
"We have a very big game this week - probably one of the biggest games we've played in years around here," said head coach Ralph Friedgen, whose team has won six of its last eight games, including all four versus ranked opponents. "I think we all know the scenarios that are involved. We have an opportunity to win the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division, and we have a chance to play in the championship game."
Standing in the way of that objective is Florida State, a talent-rich program that leads the ACC in total offense and total defense this season. Led by longtime head coach Bobby Bowden, the Seminoles have been productive on both sides of the ball, and have spent five weeks this season ranked in the Associated Press poll.
The Terps, however, have home-field advantage on their side, as the team seeks to complete its first perfect home record since 2003.
Saturday marks the final home game for Maryland's 30 seniors, and the team hopes its fan base will be out in full force for its annual `blackout game,' for which attendees are encouraged to wear black in support of the Terps.
"I think playing at home is an advantage for us. I appreciated the people who came and saw us last week and gave us a home-field advantage," Friedgen said. "I am hoping all of the Terp fans come out for this game because I think it is going to be one of the bigger games we've played at Byrd."
Maryland used Thursday's practice to conduct its final preparations for Saturday's game. During the two-minute drill portion of practice, backup quarterback Josh Portis completed 6 of 7 passes in engineering a long drive that led to place-kicker Obi Egekeze's field goal. The first-team defense also contributed a strong series earlier in the drill thanks in part to a pass breakup by defensive back Nolan Carroll.
Following practice, Friedgen announced the captains for Saturday's game. Offensive lineman Edwin Williams, defensive lineman Jeremy Navarre and linebacker Moise Fokou will represent the Terps offensive, defensive and special teams' units, respectively.
"I think those guys have just given great effort all year," Friedgen said of three of his seniors.
A pair of seniors will carry the flags onto the field prior to kickoff. Linebacker Alex Schultz will carry the American flag, and offensive lineman Lee Oliver, a native of Germantown, Md., will bring the Maryland flag. The Terps started the practiced of carrying flags onto the field this season.
"Lee and Alex don't get a lot of playing time, but they came out every day (for practice) and worked their butts off," Friedgen said. "And if we can honor them in some way, they're deserving of that."
In addition to the national telecast, the game can be heard over the Terrapin Sports Radio Network. Comcast SportsNet Atlantic will show a two-hour replay of the ESPN telecast at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Maryland-FSU Tickets: A limited number of tickets remain for Saturday's Maryland-Florida State game. Tickets are available through the Maryland Athletics Ticket Office. Fans my call 1-800-IM-A-TERP or click here.