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Seminoles leave Terps looking like pretenders

November 23, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland tried for a blackout on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Florida State got the knockout.

The Seminoles used speed and ball control to thoroughly dominate the No. 23 Terrapins in a 37-3 rout that turned Maryland from favorite to forlorn in the Atlantic Division half of the chase for a berth in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

"We didn't play very well obviously," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen. "I'm very disappointed in the game we played, especially when we had a lot at stake. It just boggles my mind at how we could play so poorly."

It was an understatement ... but Maryland looked good.

Maryland tried to make a fashion statement, wearing their alternate black uniforms while encouraging fans to dress in the outlaw colors to show unity against Florida State.

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Instead, the Terps came dressed for their own funeral.

Florida State's superior speed knocked Maryland out of any chance of reaching the championship game in Tampa, Fla., on Dec. 6. Now the Terps head to Boston College to close out the regular season next week. A win gives Maryland a tie for the Atlantic Division title, but it would lose in the tiebreaker with this loss to the Seminoles. If the Terps lose, Boston College would go to the championship game.

The black marks piled up against the Terps as Florida State turned four turnovers - two fumbles and two interceptions -- into 21 points. The Terps had no answer for Florida State's quickness, especially with defensive pressure in the first half, nor could they keep FSU from turning ordinary swing plays into 6-, 7- or 8-yard gains to move the chains and control the ball.

And in the process, all the superstitions and omens Maryland enjoyed were blacked out by Florida State. The Terps failed to finish 7-0 at Byrd Stadium. They were 0-4 in night games. And the Seminoles managed to come in unranked, which neutralized the hold Maryland has had on Top 25 teams the last two seasons, winning six straight against ranked opponents.

Instead, the Terps are now 0-2 as a ranked team, sending Maryland's contingent of 30 seniors off with probably the most devastating of losses.

"When you have that many seniors on the team playing their last home game and you are playing for a chance to go to the Orange Bowl, this is tough to take," Friedgen said in his radio interview after the game.

Florida State came out and gave the Terps black eyes to go with their attire.

· The Seminoles, who are known for their ability to score quickly, had seven scoring drives, two lasting more than seven minutes while running 16 and 13 plays. Two others lasted more than four minutes.

· The Terps got past Florida State's 30 three times, collecting just one field goal in the third quarter. Maryland failed to get on the scoreboard first when Obi Egekeze missed a first-quarter field goal and the Terps didn't score on their last drive of the game.

· Florida State's Kenny Ingram's second-quarter interception ended quarterback Chris Turner's streak of 132 straight passes without a pick. FSU picked off two in the game. Tailback Da'Rel Scott also fumbled twice, with both resulting in Florida State scores, including a 22-yard return by Derek Nicholson for a 14-0 lead.

· Florida State's pressure led to six sacks of Turner in the game. Turner had been taken down only seven times in the last seven games.

· Maryland had problems closing down the Seminoles, who made a living just moving the ball into open spaces and outrunning Terps defenders. Meanwhile, quarterback Christian Ponder rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown off option-styled runs.

It all left black-clad Maryland in the dark.

"I don't understand how we play so well one week and so badly the next," Friedgen said. "We are a lot better than we showed."

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