Today's game

August 31, 2002|By Christian Ewell

No. 21 Maryland (0-0) vs. Notre Dame (0-0)

Site: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Time: 8 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 2, 7/WIYY (97.9 FM)

Line: Notre Dame by 2

Series: First meeting

Maryland offense vs. Notre Dame defense: Since Chris Kelley and Scott McBrien have stronger arms than Shaun Hill, Maryland should throw the ball downfield more than it did last year, though Notre Dame's cornerbacks - Shane Walton and Vontez Duff - are both highly regarded. Up front, the Irish are fairly young, having to replace both of the starting defensive ends from last year, Tony Weaver and Grant Irons. The Terps, who averaged 220.7 yards last season, will use Jason Crawford or Mario Merrills to replace injured tailback Bruce Perry.

Maryland defense vs. Notre Dame offense: With linebacker E.J. Henderson returning to lead a Maryland defense that gave up only 90.6 rushing yards a game last season, Notre Dame should try passing more than in years past. That said, Carlyle Holiday's best games last year came on the ground, and starting receivers Omar Jenkins and Arnaz Battle combined for 16 catches last season. So while Curome Cox is the only defensive back who started all last year, the Terps would seem to have the edge in this area.

Special teams: The Giants and Jets both played home games the previous two nights. With rain a possibility, it could be a big night for Maryland punter Brooks Barnard (44.6 average in 2001) and Notre Dame's Joey Hildbold.

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