Terps hearing the Seminoles' smack

September 13, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - At least the Maryland Terrapins know they have Florida State's attention.

There is just something about ending a team's run of nine straight Atlantic Coast Conference football titles that makes a team get a little annoyed.

And the Maryland football team knows they are on the top of the Seminoles' very short list of "Things to do" in the 2002 season. Florida State hasn't been bashful about using the media to let the Terps know they are coming after them.

"They've been talking," Maryland receiver Latrez Harrison said. " It was in a preseaon magazine ... 'Who's afraid of a terp.' That kind of hurt me and my teammates. We have to go out and win the game."


It was Florida State's attempt to send a greeting card of intimidation before the last two ACC champions meet on Saturday night in ESPN's nationally spotlighted game at Byrd Stadium. Even though the Terps are a vastly different team than the one that won the title in 2001, they still have something the Seminoles want.

A measure of revenge would be the first step in regaining the title, or though the Seminoles, who are a 14-point favorite in the game, would think.

"One year of success doesn't make a program," Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson said. "We don't have any pressure on us. The pressure is on for Florida State to spank us. They are ranked in the top 10 and we're not. They have to spank us."

While Florida State tries to engage in a war of words through the media, Maryland has elected to take the low road and not oblige. The Terps say they have too much of their own game to worry about instead of getting in a public spitball match.

"The win over Akron gave us a lot of confidence," said Maryland receiver Steve Suter, who returned a punt for a touchdown in last Saturday's 44-14 win. "Each team finds it own ways to motivate themselves. If that's their way to motivate themselves, that's fine. Ours it that we haven't ever beaten them. We want to be the first to say that we have."

In fact, Maryland is keeping the pregame trash talking in perspective. Being outscored 511-153 in the last 10 meetings has a way of keeping one mellow.

"I don't feel any disrespect," Henderson said. "That's the way it's been since I've been here. They are the big dogs. We won the championship last year, but they still beat us. This is a big game for our program, for our team and for me."

And that in itself is a motivating factor.

"I've beaten every team in the ACC but them," Henderson said. "They are one of the top programs in the nation. Beating them would be another notch in my belt."

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