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Friedgen's wishes come true

October 29, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Coach Ralph Friedgen's wishes were the University of Maryland's command on Saturday.

For six years, Florida State was a huge nemesis for the Terrapins. Maryland would come close, but would fall short in overcoming the Seminoles speed and mystique. Friedgen wondered out loud during his Tuesday media conference.

"We have played them tight since I've been here until late in the game," he said. "Last year, we were leading until we turned the ball over a couple of times late in the game. I hope we don't have the turnovers this year."

On Saturday, rabbits' feet were optional. Maryland stood up to Florida State, especially in the crucial last six minutes of the game, to pull out a 27-24 victory, causing the crowd of 50,000-plus fans to storm Byrd Stadium's field to celebrate.

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And although the outcome was in question to the very end - seemingly a Terrapins trademark this season - Maryland made the plays when it had to to turn back Florida State. The Terps used efficiency to slow the Seminoles and stamped it in the win column with Jeremy Navarre's block of Gary Cismesia's 46-yard field goal attempt with 38 seconds remaining.

On the surface, it was Maryland's second win in 17 tries against Florida State, including a 2-4 record against the Seminoles under Friedgen. Plus, the victory made the Terps bowl eligible for the first time since 2003.

Maryland used Sam Hollenbach's mobility to start the offense and moved the ball against the Seminoles. The Terps were able to throw against FSU's run-stingy defense.

It allowed the Terps to dictate the first half of another game as they owned a 20-14 lead at the half, forcing another team to play comeback football again.

Add to the mix the fact that Maryland didn't turn over the ball to heighten the efficient play.

On defense, the Terps controled the Seminoles, especially on the longer pass patterns late in the game, situations which have doomed Maryland in the past.

Florida State drove to the Maryland 16 with 1:20 remaining. The Terps erased the Seminoles' mystique for miracle finishes when Navarre sacked FSU quarterback Xavier Lee, who was also called for intentional grounding.

On the next play, Florida State missed on one of the long patterns which concerned Friedgen. Greg Carr dropped a pass at the 5, setting up the final field goal try.

The victory puts Maryland in the middle of the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division chase with Clemson, Boston College and Wake Forest, all teams it will face in the next four weeks.

Which led to another premonition for Friedgen.

"If you get two guys nicked up here, or you are not ready to play that one day, or you fumble the ball a couple times, you are beat," he said on Tuesday.

Maryland was ready and didn't get beat.

Wishes come true. So do huge victories.

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