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Maryland's Friedgen is winless at Florida State

November 14, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - What can the University of Maryland football team do for an encore after accomplishing something that many thought the Terps would never do?

Answer: Do something it has never done before under coach Ralph Friedgen.

There was still a slight buzz around the campus in the aftermath of the Terps' stunning victory over then-No. 8 Boston College. All things considered with injuries and bad breaks, it was a very unlikely victory.

To top it, though, Maryland is turning the page to get ready to play at Florida State. The Seminoles aren't as dominant as they once were, but Tallahassee, Fla., is still a place where a Friedgen-coached Terps team has never won.

But getting there means forgetting about the huge victory over BC, which is tough to do.

"We are still talking about the Boston College game, and I want to talk about Florida State," Friedgen said Tuesday during his weekly media conference. "It's human nature. It's the first time we beat two Top Ten teams in a season (BC and Rutgers). This is a team that deserves a lot more than it has."

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It's tough to stop thinking about the Boston College win. For Maryland, that game was the same as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is to a drowning man. The Terps' hopes for a bowl game were going down for the third time if they had lost to the Eagles. Instead, Maryland came up with a big-play offense to drop the Eagles and get back into the postseason bowl picture.

"I don't want it to be the exclamation point to the season," Friedgen said. "It gets us back in to go for our goals."

Maryland (5-5, 2-4) still needs to win at least one of its last two games - at Florida State and at North Carolina State - to reach the six wins needed to qualify for a bowl bid, but it won't assure them of a postseason destination. Winning both games would seal it, though.

And that's where Florida State comes in. But as far as Friedgen has been concerned, the Terps may as well be heading to Death Valley.

"We've never won there," Friedgen said. "It's a tough place to play for us, but there aren't a lot of easy places to play in the ACC. We've been close down there before, but now we've got to get it done."

It will call for a number of changes for the Terps to get ready since Boston College and Florida State (6-4, 3-4) play different styles of games.

First and foremost the Eagles play zone defenses, while the Seminoles play a man set which is built around getting into the other team's faces with pressure and using speed to close the deal.

"This will be a different deal because Boston College was a zone team that played little man-to-man," Friedgen said. "Florida State is a man-in-your-face, press team. We have to play extremely well. We could put BC in binds schematically, but against Florida State, it will be more man on man."

Maryland went for big pass plays against Boston College because of how strong the Eagles were against the run. Friedgen would like to be able to do the same against Florida State.

"I'd like to, but Florida State will have something to say about it," Friedgen said. "I was looking at last year's films and we only had 55 plays, but it helps when you make big plays. (Quarterback Chris Turner) played smart (on Saturday) and did a great job managing the game. When we execute, it helps us be aggressive. But when you drop passes, you don't look as aggressive as you would like."

Turner was nearly flawless in the win over Boston College, hitting 21 of 27 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions to be named ACC Offensive Back of the Week. Oft-injured Scott Burley earned an ACC Offensive Linemen of the week honor as well.

But turn the page. Maryland is 2-15 against Florida State, including 0-9 in Tallahassee. Of that latter count, Friedgen is 0-3. But Friedgen acknowledges that Maryland is much better for having played the Seminoles over the years.

"Coach (Bobby) Bowden normally tells me why we got beat," Friedgen said. "Usually it's 'you had too many turnovers,' and he's usually right. To be on the same field as him is quite an honor. (Florida State has) done so much to upgrade football in the ACC since joining the league. They haven't been as dominant because everyone is getting better, it's not that they are dropping."

Maryland needs to take advantage of what could be considered an offseason thus far for Florida State if the Terps plan to be playing past Thanksgiving weekend.

"I still think we are one of the better 5-5 teams in the country," Friedgen said.

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