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Wednesday, Dec. 29
Maryland (8-4, 5-3 ACC)
East Carolina (6-6, 5-3 C-USA)
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. EST
Location: Washington, D.C.
Stadium: RKK Stadium (45,423).
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TV: ESPN - Pam Ward (pbp), Danny Kanell (color) and Quint Kessenich (sidelines) will call the action in the national telecast which can also be seen on ESPN3.com.
Radio: Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (play-by-play), Jonathan Claiborne (color) and Tim Strachan (sidelines) have the call. The Toyota Tailgate Show with Gary Stein and Scott McBrien begins at 1 p.m. EST. Click here to Listen Live on-line through Terps TV. The Terrapin Sports Radio Network (15 affiliates): WJZ-FM 105.7 - Baltimore (Flagship); WJZ-AM 1300 - Baltimore (Flagship); ESPN980-AM - Washington D.C.; WWXX-FM 94.3 - Buckland, Va.; WCEM-AM 1240 - Cambridge; WBEY-FM 97.9 - Crisfield; WGOP-AM 540 - Crisfield; WFMD-AM 930 - Frederick; WARK-AM 1490 - Hagerstown; WPTX-AM 1690 - Lexington Park; WVMD-FM 99.5 - Midland; WMSG-AM 1050 - Oakland; WQMR-FM 101.1 - Ocean City; WWXT-FM 92.7 - Prince Frederick, Md.; WTGM-AM 960 - Salisbury.
Tickets: Maryland's ticket allotment sold out on Monday, Dec. 21. Fans may still purchase tickets through the Military Bowl at Ticketmaster.
Maryland will make its fourth bowl appearance in the last five seasons, and seventh in the last 10 years, when the Terps take on East Carolina in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman. The Terrapins, who finished tied for second in the ACC's Atlantic Division and had the second-best turnaround in the FBS, are looking to end the year with at least nine wins for the first time since 2006 and 14th time in school history. East Carolina, which is making its fifth straight bowl appearance, has one of the most potent offenses in the nation. The Pirates rank seventh nationally in passing offense (319.3 ypg) and 12th in scoring (38.2 ppg). Maryland and ECU have never met.
The Maryland offense has been an evolving and improving unit throughout the season under third-year coordinator and assistant head coach James Franklin. The Terps, who have posted over 400 total yards in four of the last five games, rank 42nd nationally in scoring offense (31.4 ppg) and have held onto the ball. Only three teams in the FBS have fewer turnovers than Maryland and QB Danny O'Brien, the ACC Rookie of the Year, has posted the lowest interception percentage in the country among freshmen (1.90). RBs Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett, and WR Torrey Smith have provided big plays for an offense which has scored eight times this season on plays of 40 yards or more. Smith, one of the most dynamic players in the nation and a first team All-ACC choice, has 12 TD receptions which is tied for eighth in the FBS, while his 87.08 receiving yards-per-game average is 20th. O'Brien, 6-3 as a starter, ranks fourth in the ACC in passing efficiency (135.2) and fourth among FBS freshmen. Despite being depleted by injury with the losses of LT Justin Gilbert (knee) and RT Pete DeSouza (fractured legs), the o-line has allowed two or fewer sacks in nine games. LG Andrew Gonnella is the only lineman to start all 12 games at the same position, while Paul Pinegar, an All-ACC selection, has started at both center and right tackle.
The linebacker corps, including three-time All-ACC performer Alex Wujciak, and a hard-hitting secondary anchor the defense under second-year coordinator Don Brown. The Terps, who have scored four times defensively (tied for fourth in the FBS), rank 38th nationally in points allowed (22.3 ppg) and are tied for 17th in red-zone defense (74 percent). Maryland is allowing foes to gain just 4.7 yards per play, which ranks tied for second in the ACC. Wujciak ranks fourth in the league and tied for 32nd nationally in tackles (9.3 pg). LB Adrian Moten, a playmaker throughout his career, ranks tied for 21st in the ACC in stops (6.0 pg) and tied for eighth in passes defended (0.83 pg). Demetrius Hartsfield, the third member of the linebacking corps, ranks third on the team in stops (74). Joe Vellano ranks fourth in the ACC in tackles among linemen (4.9 pg) and has a team-high five sacks. The secondary has a number of playmakers. First team All-ACC performer Kenny Tate ranks tied for fifth in the FBS in forced fumbles (0.33 pg) and sixth in the ACC in tackles (7.8 pg). SS Antwine Perez is tied for 11th in the FBS in fumbles recovered (0.25 pg) and leads the team in pass breakups (eight). CBs Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes are tied for second on the team with seven pass breakups apiece.
Special teams has been a strength for the Terps most of the season. Travis Baltz, a 2008 first team All-ACC punter, has handled both kicking chores this season. Baltz, who was a candidate for the 2010 Ray Guy Award, has connected on 13 of his 16 FG attempts and is averaging 42.0 yards per punt, which is sixth in the ACC. Junior Tony Logan has been one of the top punt returners in the nation. The first team All-ACC performer has returned two punts for scores, becoming one of just two players in league history to post consecutive games with a return for a score. Logan is also averaging 18.8 ypr which is third in the FBS. Smith was one of the top kick returners in the country last season, posting an ACC single-season record 1,309 yards. He is the career leader in the league as well, setting that mark vs. Miami (11/6).
Maryland is bowl eligible for the seventh time in 10 seasons under 2010 ACC Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen. The Terps are 4-2 in bowl games under Friedgen. The four bowl wins are the most in school history. He is also one of seven ACC coaches with four or more all-time bowl victories.
The Terps are seeking their 14th nine-win regular season in school history, including fifth under Friedgen (2001-03, 2006).
Maryland, 2-10 last year, has posted the best turnaround in the ACC (+6). No other team's win total has increased by more than three (NC State) from its 2009 record. The six-win increase is also the second-best turnaround in the FBS so far this year (Miami [Ohio] - 8). The turnaround in the win column is the best in school history during the modern era (five was previous high - 1945 and 2001).
Friedgen became the 13th head coach in ACC history to amass 70 career wins with the victory over Duke (10/2). The win over NC State (11/27) was his 74th which put him third in school history. Curley Byrd is the all-time leader with 119 and Jerry Claiborne is second (77).
Danny O'Brien threw for a career-high 417 yards against NC State (11/27) and is now in sixth place on the ACC single-season freshman passing yardage list (2,257). He finished the regular season with 21 TD passes and is just the second player in school history to throw 20 or more TDs in a single season (Scott Milanovich had 26 in 1993 and 20 in `94).
Torrey Smith posted 272 all-purpose yards (224 receiving, 48 KOR) against NC State (11/27), breaking Lamont Jordan's school record for career all-purpose yards. Smith has 5,183 yards and ranks seventh in ACC history in career all-purpose yards. Smith's 65 receptions rank fifth on the Maryland single-season chart, while his 1,045 receiving yards are second.
Alex Wujciak had a team-high 112 tackles in the regular season. The senior has at least 100 tackles in three straight seasons and is just the sixth player in school history to accomplish that feat (also D'Qwell Jackson, E.J. Henderson, Eric Barton, Ratcliff Thomas and Chuck Faucette). He has earned All-ACC honors the last three seasons.
The Terps have 17 interceptions this year, the most since 2002 when they had 18. Eight of those interceptions have come from linebackers (Moten - 4; Wujciak - 2; Demetrius Hartsfield - 1; Ryan Donohue - 1).
The Terps four defensive scores this season (all interception returns for TDs) match the team's total from the last five years (two in 2009, one in 2006, one in 2005). In fact since 1987, the Terps have posted as many as three just three times (1998-00).
Moten has a career-best four picks which is second on Maryland's single-season chart for linebackers, trailing only Karl Edwards' five in 1987. The senior's 0.33 INTs per game ranks tied for second in the FBS among LBs.
Moten is one of only two players in the ACC (also Davon Morgan, Va Tech) with at least four interceptions and 70 or more tackles.
Six Earn All-ACC Honors...
Six Terps earned spots on the 2010 All-ACC team.Headlined by four first-team All-ACC honorees in wide receiver Torrey Smith, punt returner Tony Logan, linebacker Alex Wujciak and safety Kenny Tate, the Terps had their most all-conference players since 2008 when they had nine. Sophomore defensive tackle Joe Vellano was voted to the second team, while senior offensive lineman Paul Pinegar was an honorable mention selection. The four first team selections were tied for the most with Clemson. The five first and second team choices were tied for third with Clemson. Virginia Tech (11) and Miami (9) led the way. The Terps haven't had as many as four first team all-league choices since the 2003 season (also four).
Friedgen, O'Brien Honored by ACC...
Ralph Friedgen was voted ACC Coach of the Year and quarterback Danny O'Brien was tabbed the league's top overall and offensive rookie by ACSMA. Friedgen received the Coach of the Year award for the second time in his career (2001), while O'Brien is the first Terp to be named ACC Rookie of the Year (award instituted in 1975). The Terps were in the running for their first-ever Atlantic Division title due in great part to the emergence of O'Brien, who is the fourth-ranked freshman passer in the FBS (135.20 rating). He has completed 179 of 315 passes for 2,257 yards, the sixth-highest total for a freshman in ACC history. O'Brien received 54 of the 61 votes as the top overall rookie. Friedgen is the fourth Maryland coach to be honored by the league (also Jim Tatum - 1953, 55; Jerry Claiborne - 1973, 75, 76; Bobby Ross - 1982). Friedgen (29) outpaced Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech (19) in the voting.
Maryland Bowl Facts...
Maryland reached bowl eligibility for the seventh time in 10 seasons under Ralph Friedgen with its 62-14 win over Wake Forest (10/30). The Terps are playing in a bowl game for the fourth time in five seasons.
The Terps have won four of their last five bowl games. Friedgen's four bowl wins are the most of any Maryland coach. He is 4-2 overall in bowl games, including a school-record three straight wins from 2003-06. Prior to Friedgen's arrival, Maryland made only one postseason appearance in the previous 15 years.
The Terps have an all-time record of 10-11-2 in bowl games and have out-scored their last five bowl opponents 151-73.
The Terps have not faced a Conference USA opponent in a bowl game, though the Terps did play Houston, a current member of the league in the 1977 Cotton Bowl. The Cougars downed the Terps, 30-21.
Getting Offensive on Defense...
The Terps have four interception returns for touchdowns this season, including three in the last five games. No other team in the ACC has posted more than two this year. In fact, the other 11 teams in the league have combined for 16 with BC, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, UNC, Virginia Tech and NC State posting two apiece. The four interception returns for a TD are tied for second in the FBS, while the team's four defensive scores are tied for fourth in the country.
After finishing 83rd in total defense (396.3 yards per game) and 100th in points allowed (31.3 pg) last season, Maryland's attacking-style unit gradually improved this year, and now the Terps are among the better defenses in the FBS. The Terps rank 38th in scoring defense (22.3 ppg), 46th in total defense (353.1 ypg), 35th in rushing defense (132.2 ypg), tied for 17th in red-zone defense (74 percent) and tied for 25th in turnovers gained (25). Before surrendering a season-high 504 total yards to Miami (11/6), Maryland held Wake Forest (10/30), which was averaging 206.6 rushing yards per game, to minus-3 yards on the ground (lowest total by an opponent in 11 years). Fourth-down stops have been a key in four victories, including a goal-line stand on Navy's final play in the season opener (9/6). The Terps also had important fourth-down stops at the end of the FIU (9/25), Duke (10/2) and BC (10/23) games.
Streaks and Trends...
Maryland is 7-2 when winning the turnover battle and 5-2 when being outgained by the opponent.
The Terps are 4-1 in games decided by seven points or less. Last year, they lost four games by four points or less and the last two by a combined five points. The Terps have regained their form of 2008 when they were 6-1 in games decided by a TD or less.
Despite a season-high four turnovers vs. FSU (11/20), the Terps have turned the ball over just 12 times this year (eight interceptions/four fumbles) and just four of those (two vs. Navy, 9/6; one vs. Miami, 11/6; one vs. FSU, 11/20) occurred in the red zone. Maryland is tied for fourth in the FBS in fewest turnovers. The Terps had 24 turnovers (10 picks/14 fumbles) last season.
Alex Wujciak has started a team-best 37 straight games, all at Mike LB. Paul Pinegar's 24 straight starts lead the offense.
Ten defensive players have started all 12 games. Defensive coordinator Don Brown has started three safeties three times with NT A.J. Francis sitting in those instances. There have been five offensive players who have started each game. The Terps have started four offensive line combinations this season.
The Terps have recorded 24 picks over the last 17 games. They have at least one interception in 10 of 12 games this season.
SS Antwine Perez has posted at least seven tackles in the last four games. He is averaging 8.25 stops-per-game over that span.
FS Kenny Tate has posted at least six tackles in all but one game this season.
TE Will Yeatman has 13 catches on the season, but 10 of those have come in the last two games.
In his six wins as a starter, QB Danny O'Brien has completed 116 of 187 passes (62 percent) for 1,473 yards (245.5 ypg) with 16 TDs and no interceptions.
Maryland reached 40 points for the fourth time this year in the 42-23 win over Virginia (11/13). It marks the first time since 2002 that the Terps have gone over 40 points four times during the regular season.
Breaking Up is Easy to Do...
The Terps, who rank third in the ninth in the FBS in passing efficiency defense, have been an aggressive bunch this season. The defense has posted 51 pass breakups on the season after tallying 29 all of 2009. Antwine Perez ranks tied for fourth in the ACC in passes defended (0.92 pg) while Adrian Moten is tied for eighth (0.83 pg). In addition, Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes are tied for second on the team with seven PBUs apiece. Perez has a team-high eight. Chism and Perez had two of the best games in the country this season knocking down passes. Chism had four PBUs vs. FIU (9/25) and Perez matched that total vs. Duke (10/2), tallies that are tied for the most in one FBS game this season.
Maryland has not had a punt blocked in 136 straight games, but over that time span the Terps have blocked 16 of the opposition's, including four on the season (two vs. Wake Forest, 10/30; two vs. Morgan State, 9/11). LaQuan Williams registered the Terps' third blocked punt of the season in the opening quarter vs. the Demon Deacons. The 11-yard punt gave the Terps the ball at the WF 32. Maryland kicked a field goal 10 plays later. Nick Peterson added Maryland's fourth block punt of year in the second quarter. That block was recovered by Kevin Dorsey and the Terps scored two plays later on a 3-yard pass from Danny O'Brien to Haroon Brown. The Terps have scored following all four blocked punts this season (also 10 points vs. Morgan State). Maryland also blocked an extra point vs. Miami (11/6) and a field goal vs. NC State (11/27). The six blocked kicks are the most in the Ralph Freidgen era (4 in 2001, 2004, 2008).
Holding Onto the Ball...
The Terps were among the best teams in the nation this season at not committing turnovers. Maryland ranked second in the ACC and tied for seventh nationally in turnover margin (+1.08 pg). The Terps, plus-13 on the season, won the turnover battle in nine of 12 games. Only three teams in the nation (Iowa, Wisconsin and Navy) committed fewer turnovers than Maryland (12).
What to Look for vs. ECU...
If Maryland wins the game, it will become the first team in the ACC's 58-year history to go from two or fewer victories in one year to nine or more the next.
Maryland is seeking to reach nine wins for the 14th time in school history and the fifth time in Ralph Friedgen's 10 seasons.
Senior LB Adrian Moten, who has 23.5 career tackles for loss, needs 0.5 more to reach the top 15 on the Maryland all-time list.
Junior Torrey Smith, who set the Maryland career all-purpose yards mark in the NC State game, ranks seventh in ACC history (5,183). He needs 139 yards to pass Warrick Dunn of Florida State (1993-96, 5,321) for sixth place.
Smith has a school-record 12 TD receptions this season, which is tied for the ninth most in ACC history. One more would move him into a tie for fifth. The ACC record is 17 by Clarkston Hines of Duke in 1989.
Smith ranks fifth on the Maryland single-season receptions list with 65. With five more, he could move into third all-time. Geroy Simon owns the school record with 77 in 1994.
Danny O'Brien, who set the Maryland single-season freshman passing yards mark vs. Miami (11/6), currently ranks sixth on the ACC single-season freshman passing yardage list with 2,257. He needs 270 yards to move pass Kyle Parker of Clemson for fifth.
Additionally, O'Brien could move into the Maryland top-10 list with 138 passing yards.
O'Brien is responsible for 23 touchdowns this season (21 passing, one rushing, one receiving), the third most in school history. Scott Milanovich owns the record with 29 in 1993, while Scott McBrien is second with 25 in 2003.
Davin Meggett needs 36 rushing yards to reach the Maryland career top 20 list.
Kenny Tate needs six tackles to become the first Maryland DB to reach 100 stops since Tony Jackson (101 in 2000).
East Carolina At-A-Glance...
East Carolina finished the season 6-6, with a league record of 5-3 that put the Pirates in a two way tie for fourth in Conference USA.
East Carolina has an 8-8 record all time in bowl games, most recently losing to Arkansas in last year's AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
The Pirates boast one of the most potent passing attacks in the nation, ranked seventh in passing yards per game (319.33) and 12th in scoring offense averaging over 38 points a game.
QB Dominique Davis has proven to be one of the most effective passers in the nation, ranking first in completions (29.8 pg) and fourth in passing yards (308 pg). The junior has totaled 36 touchdowns through the air this season, while adding nine scores rushing.
The receiving corps at ECU has also been strong this year, with help from senior Dwayne Harris and junior Lance Lewis. Harris leads the team with receptions, amassing 93 catches for 1,055 yards and 10 touchdowns. Lewis leads ECU receivers in touchdowns with 13, while totaling 979 yards on 78 receptions.
Despite having one of the nation's most dangerous offenses, East Carolina has struggled on the other side of the football. The Pirates rank last in the FBS in total defense, allowing an average of 478.83 yards and 6.40 touchdowns per game to opposing teams.
Though their defense has allowed big games to opposing offenses, East Carolina has been able to force 20 turnovers this season. Defensive back Bradley Jacobs leads the Pirates in interceptions with three, while defensive lineman Matt Milner and defensive back Emanuel Davis each have a pair of fumble recoveries.
Did You Know?...
Tony Logan is one of only five FBS players in the last eight years to return two punts of at least 80 yards for touchdowns in the same season. He is joined on the list by Quinton Jones of Boise State (2005), DeSean Jackson of Cal (2006), Javier Arenas of Alabama (2008) and LaVon Brazill of Ohio (2009).
By The Numbers...
1... Despite losing two starting offensive tackles to season-ending injuries (Justin Gilbert - knee; Pete DeSouza - fractured legs), the Terps allowed just 12 sacks in their eight ACC games which was the third-fewest in the league.
2... Tony Logan has returned two punts for TDs this season, while the other 11 ACC teams have combined for six.
3... Danny O'Brien's 21 TD passes ranks third in the FBS among freshmen QBs.
6... Number on non-offensive touchdowns scored by the Terps (four interception returns; two punt returns) which leads the ACC. It marks the most non-offensive TDs for the Terps since 2002 (seven).
6... Number of graduates on the 2010 roster. Michael Carter, Emani Lee-Odai, Adrian Moten, Joey McQueeney, Antwine Perez and Da'Rel Scott have each earned a degree.
9... The Terps have placed a punter on the Academic All-ACC team in each of the last nine seasons. Travis Baltz has been a member for the last three years (Adam Podlesh 2003-06; Brooks Barnard 2001-02).
10.2... Alex Wujciak has averaged 10.2 tackles per game in his career which is third in the FBS among active players.
12... Number of true freshmen who have started during Ralph Friedgen's 10 years (2001 - Domonique Foxworth, Randy Starks; 2003 - Vernon Davis; 2005 - Jeremy Navarre, Danny Oquendo, Jared Gaither; 2006 - Cory Jackson; 2007 - Travis Baltz; 2009 - Nick Ferrara, Bennett Fulper; 2010 - Desmond Kearse, Matt Robinson).
13... The Terps are plus-13 in the turnover dept. this season which is their best mark since 2001 (plus-16).
19... Number of players who have scored a TD this season, the most in the Ralph Friedgen era (17 in 2002 was the previous high).
20... Number of points the opposition has scored off 12 Maryland turnovers this season. In contrast, the Terps have scored 93 points off 25 opponent turnovers. The Terps surrendered a season-high 13 points off TOs to FSU (11/20).
26... The Terps have 26 players on NFL rosters (plus three on practice squads), which ranks third among ACC squads, trailing just Miami (42) and FSU (27).
136... The Terps have not had a punt blocked since the Florida State contest (11/13/99), a stretch of 136 games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.