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ACC Football This Week - 11/27/04

Posted Monday, November 22, 2004

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Terps host Wake in Season Finale
'Stuff the Byrd' promotion gets fans 4 tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks for $40.

Terps vs. Wake Forest Notes

The University of Maryland football team returns home for its final game of 2004 as Wake Forest University travels to College Park this Saturday. Kickoff from Byrd Stadium is set for 12:02 p.m., with the game being televised nationally by ESPN and broadcast on the Terrapin Radio Network (radio pregame starts at 11:30 a.m.).
# The Terrapins (4-6, 2-5 ACC) return to the friendly confines of Byrd in hopes of sending off one of the winningest senior classes in school history with a win. Maryland struggled from start to finish in an eventual 55-6 loss at No. 15 Virginia Tech last Thursday night, a loss which deflated any hopes the team had of playing in its fourth consecutive bowl game. For more on the game, see Quick Hits, Week 10.
# Wake Forest has been a team that, despite its 4-6 record, has been in every game it has played this season. Like the Terps, the lone exception came last weekend as the Demon Deacons got much the same treatment from Miami that Maryland did from Virginia Tech, losing 52-7.
# Both teams enter this weekend's action unranked. Maryland spent the first seven weeks of this season ranked in the nation's Top 25. Wake Forest is the first unranked opponent Maryland has played in the last four games.

Series Notes -- Terps & Demon Deacons
# Saturday's game marks the 53rd meeting between the Terrapins and Demon Deacons. Maryland leads the all-time series -- which began in 1917 -- by a 38-13-1 margin.
# Maryland and Wake Forest have met every year since 1971. That `71 season marked what can be considered the end of a good run in the series for Wake. At the end of the `71 season, the ledger between the two schools was 12-7-1 in Maryland's favor. Since that time, the Terps own a 26-6 record against the Demon Deacons and have won 10 of the last 13 meetings.
# With a win this year, the Terrapins would run their current win streak in the series to six games, the longest since running off six between 1980 and 1985.
# Though this season's matchup has no bowl implications, the recent series history has been important to the Terrapins. Last season, the Terps had to win at Winston-Salem a week after an emotional come-from-behind victory at NC State to secure their spot in the Toyota Gator Bowl. The Terrapins did so behind a 237-yard, three-touchdown rushing performance from senior Bruce Perry in his final regular season game.
# The 2002 contest saw Maryland looking to secure its 10th win of the season and in search of its second-straight bowl appearance. At the end of the eventual 32-14 win, a victory sealed by a 24-point second quarter, the Terrapins were offered and excepted an invitation to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in front of the home crowd at Byrd Stadium.
# In 18 of the last 24 meetings between the two schools, the winner has scored at least 26 points.
# This year's game marks the third-straight season that Maryland and Wake Forest have closed their regular season slate with one another. This year's Nov. 27 contest is not the latest the Terps have played a regular season game. In 2002, the two teams met for the latest regular season calendar date in Maryland history (Nov. 30).

Quick Hits, Week 10
# Maryland gave up 55 points to Virginia Tech, the most in Ralph Friedgen's tenure at Maryland. A closer look, however, shows that though the defensive performance was not the best of the season, it was not deserving of giving up 55 points.
# Of the 55 points, 31 were scored off of turnovers. What's more, the Maryland defense was not put in a good spot early. Virginia Tech's first four scoring drives averaged 31 yards in length and the Hokies were afforded six scoring opportunities of 38 yards or less (five touchdowns, one field goal) in the game.
# The average starting spot for Virginia Tech drives was the Tech 48-yard line for the game and the Maryland 46-yard line for the first half.
# It was not a noteworthy game from an offensive standpoint from the Terps, but a few players did play well. WR Derrick Fenner posted a career-high seven receptions and sophomore QB Sam Hollenbach, in his first extensive action, performed admirably late in the game, going 5-of-8 for 53 yards.

Friedgen's ACCeptional Start
# Ralph Friedgen has opened his career as a head coach by setting one coaching record after another and as his fourth season in College Park nears an end, he has once again placed his name in several record books for coaching wins.
# In his three-plus years at Maryland, Friedgen has -- season-by-season -- established himself as one of the top coaches in ACC history. His first season featured an ACC championship and 10 wins, his second had him at the top of the record books for second-year mentors with a 21-5 record, and his third year had him atop the record books of third-year ACC coaches with a 31-8 record. His 31 wins were five more than the list's number-two coaches, Lou Holtz (NC State, 1972-74) and Danny Ford (Clemson, 1979-81).
# With 31 wins in those first three years, Friedgen entered this year ranked seventh on the NCAA's all-time list for third-year head coaches. Along with Miami's Larry Coker (2nd), he is one of two active coaches on the list that features legendary names like Walter Camp (1st), Barry Switzer (4th) and John Robinson (6th).
# Now with 35 wins, Friedgen ranks tied for first on the ACC list of fourth-year head coaches. With the win over Florida State, he moved into a tie for first with CU's Ford who was 35-10-1 in his four years. He will stand alone with a win this week over Wake Forest.
# Notably, Friedgen now stands just nine wins from tying Ford for the most wins by an ACC coach in his fifth year. Despite still coaching in his fourth season, Friedgen already ranks seventh on that list. He will tie long-time friend George O'Leary for sixth with his next victory.

A Wealth of Experience
# The coaching experience on the Terrapin staff does not end with Coach Friedgen and his coordinators. The Maryland staff, overall, possesses a combined total of 197 years of full-time experience at either the collegiate or pro levels.
# That total includes four coaches (excluding Friedgen, Taaffe and Blackney) who have been at it for 18 years or more, and the 197 years means an average of almost 20 years of experience per coach on the 2004 staff.

Coaching Connections
# Ralph Friedgen is not the only member of the Terrapin coaching staff with previous ties to College Park, though this is his fourth stint at Maryland (player from 1965-68; graduate assistant from 1969-72; offensive coordinator/offensive line coach from 1982-86 and the present stint).
# Defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo was a graduate assistant for the Terrapins in 1984 and defensive line coach in `86-87.
# Sollazzo is also one of several coaches with a connection to another school -- The Citadel. Sollazzo played for (1974-76) and helped coach (1989-98) the Bulldogs, while Friedgen coached there from 1973-79. Charlie Taaffe was a head coach there from 1987-96 and outside linebackers coach Al Seamonson served there from 1987-99.
# Friedgen was actually Sollazzo's position coach at The Citadel. In addition, the head coach at the college at the time was former Terp mentor and current Army coach Bobby Ross (Bulldog head coach from 1973-77; Terps from `82-86).

Raising the Bar
# With its win over FSU three games ago, Maryland has 35 victories over its last four seasons -- all since Ralph Friedgen took over in 2001.
# The Terps' total of 31 wins from 2001-03 is the highest three-year win total in school history.
# Prior to 2003, Maryland's best three-year win total was 28 (accomplished three times). With a win in this year's season finale, the team will fall one victory shy of the best four-year total in school history, 37 wins (1975-78).
# With their loss to NC State, the Terps lost any hope of winning 10 games this season, the first time in Friedgen's tenure that the team will have failed to do so. In the previous 110 years of football, Maryland had never put together three straight nine-win seasons, but Friedgen's teams strung together three-straight 10-win campaigns from 2001-03.
# Since 1892, Maryland has had seven 10-win seasons, three of which have come in the previous three years.

RBs Becoming Terp Tradition
# Historically, Maryland has had a reputation for producing some top-notch quarterbacks. Names like Esiason, Scarbath, O'Donnell and Reich have done nothing to discourage that. In recent years, however, the schools reputation of producing QBs is rivaled only by its production at tailback.
# Following the departure of LaMont Jordan in 2000, the big question was "who would carry the load?" The answer has come in waves -- Bruce Perry, Marc Riley, Chris Downs, and now Josh Allen and Sammy Maldonado.
# Now in his third year, Allen has rushed for 1,786 yards and 20 TDs (22 TDs total, rush and rec.). An eight-game starter in 2003, his 257 yards against Virginia last season marked the 11th-best day in ACC history and the seventh-best in Division I-A in `03. He currently ranks 12th on the Terp career yardage list.
# Allen's one-yard touchdown run against Clemson moved him into seventh all-time on the Maryland career rushing TD list.
# Allen has posted four career 100-yard games and one in 2004.
# Maldonado rushed for 84 yards in the opener and then followed it up with his first career 100-yard game, a 106-yard, two-touchdown effort against Temple.

Defense The Backbone
# When he was hired to come to Maryland, the talk about the mark Ralph Friedgen would make in College Park was all about offense. What has been unquestionably the team's most consistent force in four seasons, however, has been its defense and it is once again proving to be a force in 2004.
# Defensive coordinator Gary Blackney's defense has been a unit characterized by stopping the run and making teams score by moving the ball through the air. With a scoring average of 18.3 points allowed per game since 2001, that feat has obviously been a tall order for Terrapin foes.
# Just one team -- Georgia -- has finished higher than the Terrapins in scoring defense each of the last four years.
# The Terps' scoring average took a hit in last week's loss to Virginia Tech as the team went from 17th nationally and allowing an average of 17.6 points per game to 36th and giving up 21.3 per outing.
# The Terrapins' defensive scoring average is skewed somewhat this year due to events beyond the defense's control. If one were to eliminate points scored off of turnovers, fumble or interceptions returned for touchdowns and kickoff returns for touchdowns, the Maryland defense is allowing 12.7 points per game compared to its current average of 21.3.
# Since 2001, 34 of Maryland's 49 opponents (69%) have been held to 20 points or less.
# Maryland has yet to see a year under Blackney's watch where opponents average more than 20 points per game. If the Terrapins can hold Wake Forest to six points, that streak will stay alive.
# Since 2002, Maryland has held its opposition scoreless in 70 quarters (15 thus far in 2004).
# The Terrapins are currently ranked in the nation's top 25 in three defensive categories: total defense (23rd), pass defense (12th) and pass efficiency defense (19th).
# Maryland has held six opponents to 100 yards or less passing since 2001.
# The Terps have not had a quarterback throw for 250 yards or more since Philip Rivers of NC State did so in game 11 of last season (FSU threw for over 250, but did so with two different quarterbacks and attempting 51 passes).
# Virginia Tech's Bryan Randall became the first QB to pass for more than one touchdown against the Terrapins since Chris Rix of Florida State did so in game two of the 2003 season.
# Against Duke, the Terp defense held the opposition to 185 yards of total offense (83 rushing, 102 passing). Along the way, the defense held six of the Blue Devils' 12 drives to three plays or less.

Run Stuffers
# Maryland's defense has gotten progressively better as this season has gone on, due in large part to the progression of a group of young defensive tackles. In the last seven games, just three teams have been able to manage 100 yards rushing against the Terrapins.
# Against Florida State, Maryland buckled down and held the Seminoles to 50 rushing yards. Florida State came into the game averaging 190 per game and the output was its lowest of the season.
# In their loss to Clemson, the Terps held the Tigers to 36 yards rushing (0.9 yards per carry), their lowest output of 2004.
# Since 2001, Maryland has held its opposition below 100 yards rushing 13 times.

Seniors Near End of Line
# A total of 19 seniors are playing the final game of their careers at Maryland this weekend against Wake Forest. The class has been one of the most successful in Maryland history, heading into this week with a 35-14 record in the last three-plus years. They have appeared in three bowl games, two of them wins.
# The following is a list of the seniors on this year's team (* = letters earned prior to 2004):

Name Letters Hometown
Rob Abiamiri, TE/HB * Randallstown, Md.
Quintin Beltran, SS Woodbridge, Va.
C.J. Brooks, OG *** Rex, Ga.
Jon Condo, LS *** Philipsburg, Pa.
Ray Custis, FS *** Germantown, Md.
Kevin Eli, DE ** Deptford, N.J.
Ryan Flynn, OT ** Youngstown, Ohio
Domonique Foxworth, CB *** Randallstown, Md.
Reuben Haigler, CB * New Cumberland, Pa.
Chris Kelley, SS ** Germantown, Md.
Lou Lombardo, OT *** Baltimore, Md.
Sammy Maldonado, RB * Harrison, N.Y.
Nick Novak, PK *** Charlottesville, Va.
Rich Parson, WR *** Newark, Del.
Kyle Schmitt, C *** Derry, Pa.
Henry Scott, DT * Baltimore, Md.
Maurice Smith, FB *** Waldorf, Md.
Steve Suter, WR/KR ** Manchester, Md.
Curtis Williams, WR *** Huntington Sta., N.Y.

Living Up To Their Name
# After stumbling out of the blocks in their first year, Maryland's special teams have been nothing short of, well, special the last three years under coordinator Ray Rychleski.
# In placekicker Nick Novak, punter Adam Podlesh and return man Steve Suter, the Terrapins have the ACC's first team all-conference kicker from 2002 and 2003, its second-team punter from 2003 (and the first Terp freshman in history to make All-ACC) and a specialist who has been first team all-league since 2002.
# The Terps have drawn national attention for their unit in 2004 as they were ranked in the preseason as one of the best units in the nation by Collegefootballnews.com (1st), Lindy's (1st), ESPN (3rd) and Phil Steele (3rd).
# Suter (punt return yards) and Novak (scoring) will finish their careers this weekend atop the Atlantic Coast Conference record books in their respective categories. Podlesh was named a Ray Guy Award semifinalist for the second year in a row.

Young Guns
# In three of the last four years, Maryland has been faced with opening its season with a quarterback in his first year playing in the offensive system. While this year is different in the sense that Joel Statham and the team's other quarterbacks have all come up in the Friedgen offense, this year's group has faced a new set of challenges as the least experienced the Terps have put on the field in recent years.
# Maryland's group of five quarterbacks entered this season having thrown 25 career passes between them at the collegiate level (all 25 attempts were by Statham in 2003).
# The Terrapins have no players at the position older than a sophomore. The group includes two sophomores (Statham, Hollenbach), two redshirt freshmen (Mitch, Moyseenko) and one true freshman (Steffy).
# With his start in the opener, Statham was the least experienced to take the field in terms of passes thrown at either the college or junior college level since Latrez Harrison started as a freshman against Florida State in 1999.

Suter ACC Record-Holder
# After two years as the ACC's first-team specialist and one of Maryland's top playmakers, Steve Suter is no longer flying under anybody's radar. He is more likely to be flying down the sideline.
# Now in his final year of eligibility at Maryland, Suter does it all for the Terps. A starting wideout who returns punts and kicks, Suter has also been involved in the running game and is one of the team's few receivers who can play at any spot (X, Z or slot).
# In the last three years, Suter has averaged 15.0 yards per touch whether it be rushing, receiving or in the returns game.
# With his first return of the day against Georgia Tech this season, Suter became the ACC's all-time leader in punt return yardage, surpassing the mark of NC State's Ledel George (1,191, 1990-93). He enters his final game as a Terp with 1,269 yards.
# In 2002, Suter tied the NCAA record for punt returns for a touchdown in a season (4). He returned two punts last season for scores, leaving him just two shy of tying the current NCAA career record of eight (Wes Welker, Texas Tech, 2000-03; Antonio Perkins, Oklahoma, 2001-pres.).
# Suter's six returns for a TD are a Maryland record.

DJ = Defensive Juggernaut
# The question surrounding the 2004 Terrapins heading into the season was virtually all about the quarterback position. Last season, however, that same "buzz" was surrounding "who would replace E.J. Henderson" at middle linebacker. Thanks to the play of D'Qwell Jackson, those questions are as good as forgotten.
# Last season -- his first as a starter -- Jackson led the team in tackles with 136, one shy of the record for tackles by a sophomore at Maryland. His 10.5 tackles per game ranked him seventh in the ACC and tops among sophomores.
# Maybe the fiercest competitor on the Terp roster, Jackson has led the Terrapins in tackles in 13 of 23 games the last two years. He has also had 14 career games with double-digit tackles.
# With one game left this year, Jackson is again leading the team in tackles (112). His average of 11.2 tackles per game is also tops in the ACC and he is just one of two players this season to have hit the century mark in tackles (Ga. Tech's Gerris Wilkinson the other).
# Jackson has earned ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times this year and is one of just three ACC players (Devin Hester, specialist; and Jonathan Abbate, rookie) to have earned ACC Player of the Week more than twice.
# The Largo, Fla., native was everywhere against Clemson, notching a staggering career-high 18 tackles (nine solo) to go along with 2.5 TFLs and a sack.
# Jackson was one of the few bright spots against Georgia Tech, tying what was then his career-high with 16 tackles (four solo) while adding a half TFL and a PBU.
# After suffering a hyperextended elbow against Temple in week two, concern was that Jackson might have trouble playing against West Virginia. On the contrary, he finished with 16 tackles, a sack, one TFL and one PBU.
# In the opener, Jackson racked up nine tackles and intercepted two passes against Northern Illinois, both of which led to Terrapin scores.

Jackson vs. Butkus
# Below are Jackson's statistics alongside the three finalists for this year's Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker), Virginia's Ahmad Brooks, USC's Matt Grootegoed and Texas' Derrick Johnson:

Name G TT TFL Sck Int FF Brooks 10 79 6.0 5.5 2 1 Grootegoed 10 53 12.5 3.0 2 2 Jackson 10 112 5.5 3.5 2 1 Johnson 10 115 17.0 1.0 1 8

Lights On?
# After playing through injury most of last season, DE Shawne Merriman -- a.k.a. "Lights Out" -- has unquestionably had the light go on this year.
# A true junior, Merriman is in his first season as the full-time starter but is already making waves in the Terrapin record books. In 36 career games, Merriman has posted 29.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks.
# After his sack against Clemson, Merriman now stands just five sacks from owning the school's career record (Mike Corvino, `79-82, currently holds the mark with 24).
# With his TFL against Virginia, Merriman now stands ninth on the Terp career list in that category and currently has 29.5.
# With one game remaining, Merriman leads all ACC defensive linemen with 73 total tackles.
# Merriman leads the Terrapins and is sixth in the ACC in sacks (six total/0.6 avg.), is tied for fourth in the league in TFLs (14 total/1.4 avg.) and leads the league in fumbles forced with three.
# Midway through the season, Merriman was added to the list of this year's nominees for the Ted Hendricks Award, an honor given to the player considered the nation's top defensive lineman.
# At Clemson, Merriman made big play after big play, registering seven tackles, three TFLs, one sack and one forced fumble.
# The Upper Marlboro native posted a career-high 16 tackles from his defensive end position against NC State.

Youth is Served
# With 22 seniors (12 of whom were starters), last year's Maryland squad was the most experienced in the last four years. One year later, the 2004 edition of the Terps has just three less seniors but it is easily the least experienced of Ralph Friedgen's tenure.
# This year's team has the largest group of true freshmen in recent memory (30). All told, there were 49 Terrapins on this year's roster with four years or more of eligibility remaining at the beginning of the season.
# In the Terrapins' first eight games of 2004, a total of 35 sophomores and freshmen have seen action including eight true freshmen, two more than all of last year.

Upon Further Review
# In addition to the high number of youthful Terps taking the field this year, the more experienced Terps in terms of their academic eligibility are not what one would consider long in the tooth when it comes to playing time.
# A year after opening the season with 15 senior starters, Maryland now has eight seniors in its starting lineup. Four of those players, however, are in their first season as starters.
# Of the 22 offensive and defensive players listed as starters on the two-deep heading into the Wake Forest game, 13 are in their first year as starters.
# Notably, Maryland lost 12 players a year ago made their way to in NFL camps in the fall.

Turtles in Name Only
# It has been documented that this year's team is the youngest of the Friedgen Era. Notably, it may also be the fastest.
# The Terrapins had 17 players run in the 4.5-or-better range in the 40-yard dash in spring testing (note that all but four true freshmen did not participate).
# Six of the nine wide receivers who tested in the spring ran 4.51 or better, two tailbacks ran under a 4.5 (Allen and Merrills) and three defensive backs ran a 4.4 or better (Custis, McPhearson, Wilson).
# Two notable times -- CB Gerrick McPhearson ran a team-best 4.29; P Adam Podlesh ran the best time ever for a punter at Maryland with a 4.46.

Novak Scaling NCAA List
# It seems like ages since placekicker Nick Novak hit a pair of memorable kicks at Georgia Tech that got the ball rolling for him and the Terrapins in 2001. Now a senior, Novak has gone from the focal point of a position of concern on the Terp roster to one of the premier players at his position in the country.
# Starting with his game-tying kick at Georgia Tech in `01, Novak has made 74 of his last 90 field goal attempts (82%), with five of the 17 misses coming from 50 yards or further (and one being a block).
# A semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2002 and 2003, Novak is 38 points from breaking the mark of current NCAA record-holder for scoring, Houston's Roman Anderson (423, 1988-91). Novak enters his final collegiate game with 386 career points, a total which ranks seventh and gives him a shot to go as high as third on the NCAA list in his final game.
# Novak needs three points to move into sixth and ahead of Nebraska's Kris Brown (388, 1995-98).
# Novak's first field goal of this season, a 43-yarder against Northern Illinois, set a new ACC scoring record, breaking the mark of FSU's Scott Bentley (326).
# With his game-winning 43-yard field goal in last year's NC State game, Novak became the all-time leading scorer in Maryland history, surpassing the 308 points of Jess Atkinson (1981-84).
# The Charlottesville, Va., native has made 54 percent (7-of-13) of his attempts for his career from 50 yards or further. He owns the school record with a 54-yard kick against Duke in 2003.

Podlesh A Ray Guy Semifinalist
# Sophomore Adam Podlesh had a tall order a year ago in filling the shoes of Maryland's all-time leading punter, Brooks Barnard. Now in his second season, Podlesh is playing like Barnard's record-setting career will barely have a chance for the ink to dry in the team's media guide before being moved aside.
# Podlesh averaged 42.3 yards per punt a season ago, third-best in the ACC, the fifth-best in school history and best ever by a freshman. It was his net punting and, more specifically, his ability to pin an opponent that had him finish the season as a Ray Guy Award semifinalist (an honor he has achieved again in 2004).
# Thus far in 2004, Podlesh maintains a 44.3-yard average (best in the ACC and seventh-best in the nation) and his net average (39.8) also leads the ACC and is also seventh in the NCAA.
# On 108 career punts, Podlesh has dropped 38 percent (41) inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
# Podlesh has placed 19 of his 55 punts this year inside the 20.
# Podlesh was critical to the win over Florida State, averaging 45 yards per punt while dropping three inside the 20 and booting three for over 50 yards.
# A week after being named ACC Specialist of the Week for his play against Georgia Tech, Podlesh followed that performance up with an 11-punt day that featured a 45.2-yard average, two punts inside the 20, no touchbacks and a career-long 70-yard effort that was downed at NCSU's five-yard line.
# In being named a second team All-ACC selection at punter last year, Podlesh became the first freshman in school history to be recognized by the league.

Iron Terps
# Maryland's strength numbers over the course of the last four years have been off the charts. This season, 43 players earned "Iron Terp" status, an honor that is based on a player's strength index (determined by a strength/weight formula).
# Due to the team's youth, the strength numbers have fallen slightly compared to last year, but the averages are still staggering nonetheless. The team's average bench press is 341.9; its average squat 514.2; and its average power clean is 296.3 as determined in preseason testing.
# Not only were new individual records set, but the team as a whole improved dramatically, as 72 percent of the players on this year's team elevated their personal bests in strength index -- which encompasses all of the tests into one number -- from the year previous.
# The player who set the most records at his position this year was tight end Vernon Davis. The young H-back posted records for strength index (736), bench (425 pounds), power clean (330 pounds) and vertical jump (38 inches) He also posted a 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash.
# For the second-straight season, FS Ray Custis led the team in overall strength index, posting a 809, the best ever by a Maryland defensive back.

Local Ties
# The Terrapins have six players who call the state of North Carolina home: OG Russell Bonham (Winston-Salem/Carver HS); LB Chase Bullock (Durham/Northern HS); FB Matt Deese (Greensboro/NE Guilford HS); LB William Kershaw (Raeford/Hoke County HS); DT Dennis Marsh (Browns Summit/NE Guilford HS); and DT Dre Moore (Charlotte/Independence HS).
# Terps' special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Ray Rychleski was an assistant at Wake Forest from 1993-2000.
# The Demon Deacons have five players who call the Free State home. In alphabetical order: DE John Finklea (Wheaton/DeMatha HS); CB Eric King (Woodstock/McDonough HS); DE Jerome Nichols (Glenn Dale/Sidwell Friends); OG Joe Salsich (Annapolis/Severn School); and RB Napolean Sykes (Woodstock/Gilman School).

A Milestone Win
# The Terrapins' 20-17 win over Florida State on October 30 was notable in many respects. It was a landmark win for the current coaching staff and takes the program to heights not achieved in decades. The win was:

# Maryland's first in 15 tries against FSU.
# The team's first over a top five opponent since 1983.
# The first over a top 10 team under Friedgen and for the school since 1990.
# The first by Maryland over one of the "big three" in Florida since the Terps beat Miami in 1984, a game that saw them trail 31-0 at halftime.

Terps Among Nation's Elite
# Over the course of the past three-plus years, the Maryland football program has been among the best in the nation. The Terrapins are 35-14 in that span with a 22-3 record at home.
# Maryland was one of just five BCS programs to win at least 10 games from 2001-2003. The four others are Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma, Texas and Washington State.
# The Terrapins are joined by just four other schools since 2001 to finish each of those three seasons ranked in the nation's top 20 in both major polls while also earning a spot in the top 25 of both preseason polls for 2004 (Miami (Fla.), Oklahoma and Texas and Michigan are the others).

Scouting the Deacons
# Looks are deceiving this year for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are 4-6 and near the bottom of the ACC. Despite that fact, Wake has been competitive in every game this season but one and could claim to be a few plays a game away from a 9-1 record.
# The Demon Deacons have lost five games by a touchdown or less. They fell to Clemson in double overtime in their opener, by six in OT to NC State, by seven to Virginia Tech, by three to FSU and by seven to UNC.
# A look at the statsheet is telling for Wake and its offensive preferences. The team is run-first and is 17th nationally with 211.8 rushing yards per game. Conversely, it ranks 110th in pass offense with an average of 147.4 yards per game.
# Over the last three years, junior TB Chris Barclay has been one of the more consistent backs in the ACC. He enters the final game of `04 leading the league with an average of 90.7 yards per game and has scored eight of the team's 28 touchdowns.
# Defensively, Wake Forest does not stop the ball as well as it moves it. The team is ranked 82nd nationally in total defense, allowing an average of 403.0 yards per game and 92nd in pass defense as it yields 242.4 per contest.
# Redshirt freshman Jonathan Abbate is a candidate for ACC freshman of the year as he leads the Wake defense with 94 tackles, fourth-best in the ACC.

Wake Forest's Jim Grobe
# Jim Grobe is in his fourth season at Wake Forest, a school he has turned into a threat on any Saturday in the ACC. As his fourth year nears its close, Grobe has led Wake to a 22-24 record in his tenure.
# Grobe came to Winston-Salem by way of Ohio University where he took the Bobcats from a winless season the year before his arrival to a .500 record (33-33-1) in his six-year tenure.
# Despite losing his three meetings against Maryland as a coach at Wake Forest, Grobe is not winless against the Terps as he led Ohio to a 21-14 win at Byrd Stadium in 1997.
# Prior to working in Athens, Grobe served as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy for 11 years under long-time Falcon coach Fisher DeBerry. While Grobe was in Colorado Springs, USAFA produced a record of 84-50 and played in seven bowl games.
# Other coaching stints for Grobe included time at Marshall and Emory & Henry.
# A 1975 graduate of Virginia who earned All-ACC academic honors, Grobe is a native West Virginian who also earned his master's degree at UVa.

Big Games Remembered
# The 2004 season is one that stands decades from a pair of the more memorable games in the history of the Maryland program.
# This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the great games of all time, not just in Maryland lore, as November 10, 1984, was the date of the Terps' 42-40 come-from-behind win at Miami.
# In that contest, the Terrapins trailed 31-0 at halftime, but the "King of Comebacks," Frank Reich, led his team to 42 second half points in a game that has been dubbed the greatest comeback in college football history.
# Notably, Ralph Friedgen was the offensive coordinator on that 1984 team and DL coach Dave Sollazzo was a graduate assistant.
# This season is also the 40th anniversary of one of the most memorable games in the history of Maryland/Navy, a rivalry from 1905-1965 that will be resumed next season.
# On November 7, 1964, Maryland defeated the Midshipmen and their Heisman Trophy QB of the previous year, Roger Staubach. It did so behind a 101-yard kickoff return by Kenny Ambrusko with 2:58 remaining, leading to a 27-22 victory that was the Terrapins' first in 12 years (and four meetings) over Navy.

Protecting the House
# Despite suffering a pair of losses at home for the first time since 2000, the Terrapins are 22-3 at Byrd Stadium under Ralph Friedgen.
# With Maryland's win over Virginia last year, the Terps finished the 2003 season with a perfect 6-0 record at home, marking the second time in Ralph Friedgen's three-year tenure that the team has finished its home slate unblemished.
# In 111 seasons of football, Maryland has finished undefeated at home 18 times. Just seven of those occasions, however, have come since 1950 (when Byrd Stadium opened) and just twice has it happened since 1975 (`76 and 2001).
# The Terrapins' 6-0 mark in 2003 was a tie for the second-best record at home in school history. The 1976 team was also 6-0, only to be trumped by the 2001 team which won all of its games on a seven-game home slate.

More on Byrd Stadium
# Now in its 55th year of operation, Byrd Stadium continues to serve as the home of the Terps. Opened on Sept. 30, 1950, and constructed for a sum of $1 million, Byrd was named after Dr. H.C. "Curley" Byrd, a multi-sport star at Maryland who later became the school's head football coach and ultimately its president.
# Heading into 2004, the Terrapins are 178-102-1 within the friendly confines of Byrd.
# With temporary bleachers installed again this season, Byrd Stadium can hold up to 51,500.

A Class Act
# The success of the Maryland football team has not stopped on the playing field in recent years, as the team has improved its academic standing under Ralph Friedgen's watch.
# All 19 members of this year's senior class are on schedule to earn their degrees on time.
# Since Friedgen joined the Terps in 2001, 58 of 66 football players who have exhausted their eligibilty have graduated, including 30 in fewer than five years.
# Two players on this year's team -- DE Kevin Eli and WR Steve Suter -- have already earned their degrees. One other, CB Domonique Foxworth, needs just one class to complete his requirements in three-and-a-half years.
# Suter was one of the team's top scholar-athletes, earning a 4.0 grade point average in 2003-04.
# From the membership has its benefits file: when on the road, Friedgen lets players line up to eat by grade point average. The Terps must be hungry -- 11 players earned a 3.5 GPA or better for the entire 2003-04 academic year.

 
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ACC Football This Week - 11/27/04
Friedgen entered this year ranked seventh on the NCAA's all-time list for third-year head coaches.
photo by Gene Galin


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