Plenty at stake for Terps vs. Virginia

Maryland notebook

UM can end Cavs' run

sole ACC lead on line

College Football

October 03, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland will have more than one carrot to chase when it faces Virginia at Byrd Stadium on Saturday.

By winning, the No. 25-ranked Terps (4-0, 2-0 league) can take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Also, a victory would be the first for the Terps over Virginia (3-1, 2-0) since 1991, when Joe Krivak led Maryland to a 17-6 triumph in his final season as coach.

"I'm a little more motivated this week," current coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I'm pretty intense. ... I know what's on the line. I hope [the players] do, too."

And the current players have some scores to settle with Virginia. In last season's game, Maryland was ambushed and fell behind 28-3 in the second quarter. A second-half comeback couldn't prevent a 31-23 loss.

In 1999, the Terps outgained and outplayed the Cavaliers, only to give up a last-minute touchdown and lose, 34-30, in a game that doused bowl hopes in College Park.

"I can't understand it. We need to come out and beat these guys," receiver Scooter Monroe said. "If we come out and play well, we should handle it."

While Friedgen has tried to keep to a minimum any discussion of the Top 25 ranking the team received Sunday, he has taken pains to remind his players of losses to Virginia that include routs of 46-21 in 1994 and 45-0 in 1997.

Billy McMullen will return to College Park on Saturday in hopes of reprising his role as the villain in the 1999 game.

The junior receiver was a freshman when he outjumped Terps cornerback Tony Okanlawon for the winning touchdown with 26 seconds left in that game. This season, he has seven touchdown receptions to lead the nation.

"He's tall and he's pretty athletic," Maryland free safety Randall Jones said of McMullen, who stands 6 feet 5 and leads the ACC with 25 receptions. "He'll go up for the ball like he's going up for a rebound, so we have to be on top of our game."

Friedgen respects Virginia's passing game, which alternates quarterbacks Bryson Spinner and Matt Schaub. The differences between Spinner and Schaub are similar to the scrambler/pocket-passer combination that Maryland saw at Wake Forest two weeks ago.

"They do a good job of throwing the football," Friedgen said of the Cavaliers, who have completed nearly 60 percent of their passes and averaged 232 yards per game through the air. Nine of the team's 11 touchdowns have come via the pass.

Looking to fit in

While Marlon Moye-Moore and Andrew Smith Jr. are back on the Maryland roster, it is unclear when they might play again.

Both were suspended after being charged with robbery, assault and conspiracy in a February incident and both were cleared last week except for Moye-Moore's misdemeanor-assault conviction.

Friedgen described the seven-month suspensions as "more than adequate," but did not get a chance to look at the two during Monday's practice.

"They haven't been through spring practice and I haven't had a chance to evaluate them," he said.

Not so special

Penalties and special teams woes are wearing on Friedgen. Maryland's defense was penalized five times for 80 yards Saturday, each time putting West Virginia in scoring position.

On special teams, the Terps missed an extra-point kick and another was blocked, and kickoff coverage allowed a 100-yard return for a touchdown. Maryland is last in the ACC in kickoff coverage, allowing 27.4 yards per return.

The kicking team spent 20 minutes after practice yesterday doing drills.

Next for Terps

Opponent: Virginia (3-1)

Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park

When: Saturday, noon

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Maryland by 7 1/2

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