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Terps have lot to give, take vs. BC

November 19, 2005|By DAVID GINSBURG

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen didn't need to make an impassioned speech this week to put his players in the proper mood for today's game against No. 23 Boston College.

The Terrapins have plenty of incentive to win, beginning with the fact that a victory will make Maryland eligible to receive a bowl bid. There's also the matter of giving the team's 14 seniors a proper send-off in their home finale, as well as regaining a sense of superiority at Byrd Stadium, where Maryland is 1-3 this season.

And, by defeating one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's elite teams, the Terrapins can make this statement: We're back.

"We've been talking about respect all year long," sophomore guard Andrew Crummey said. "Everyone feels last year we lost a lot of what this team had accomplished the previous three years. Beating Boston College would be a big step toward getting that respect back and re-establishing ourselves as a great program in the ACC."

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Maryland (5-4, 3-3) received bowl bids in each of Friedgen's first three seasons, but a 5-6 record last year ended the streak. In an effort to motivate his players for a return trip to the postseason, Friedgen last week told them about the souvenir cameras, complementary clothes and commemorative rings that his previous teams received.

The Terrapins responded with a 33-30 overtime win over North Carolina, putting them in position to register a signature victory today - one that bowl scouts might find difficult to ignore.

"It would be a very good win. I would think it would say a lot about our season," Friedgen said.

The Eagles (7-3, 4-3) seem assured of extending their run of bowl appearances to eight, but coach Tom O'Brien has no intention of resting his starters in BC's regular-season finale. A victory will enable the Eagles to finish in a first-place tie with Florida State in the league's Atlantic Division, although the Seminoles would advance to the title game by virtue of their 28-17 win over Boston College in September.

Coming off a 30-10 rout of North Carolina State, the Eagles will be seeking to enhance their bowl stature and carry some momentum into the postseason.

"All the bowl talk, all the wins, all the potential records, we have to put that aside and concentrate on playing Maryland," O'Brien said. "That's what we did this past week against N.C. State. We know that if we focus, good things will happen."

Good things usually happen for the Eagles when defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka is on the field. If Maryland is to build on its 33-point performance at North Carolina last week, it will have to account for Kiwanuka, who has 12 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks against the Wolfpack.

"He's a tremendous player, and deserving of all the accolades the can get," O'Brien said.

Like this one from Friedgen: "He's a heck of a football player. He's big and strong and plays with a lot of passion."

It should be an emotional day for Friedgen, who will send off his first senior class before the game.

"This is special, because these are my seniors," he said. "Some of them are fifth year, some of them are fourth year, but it's special because you want to see your kids win their last game at home."

Winning at home has been a problem for the Terrapins, who are 4-1 away from Byrd Stadium.

"We have something to prove to our fans," Crummey said.

"It used to be a home-field advantage for us to play here," Friedgen said. "It's time for us to give back to our fans. We've had a tough home schedule, but we need to go out there and win Saturday and get that home-field advantage back."

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