MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — — So much had happened in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Maryland was winning, then losing, then winning, then losing.
But when coach Ralph Friedgen and his Terps awoke Sunday morning, the bottom line was that although they had lost, 26-20, to Miami, their position in their Atlantic Coast Conference division was remarkably unchanged.
"We're kind of right back where we started," Friedgen said Sunday in his media conference call.
Maryland (6-3, 3-2 ACC) entered Saturday's matchup with the Hurricanes one-half game behind Florida State in the Atlantic Division, and tied with North Carolina State for second place.
With Florida State losing to North Carolina and N.C. State losing to Clemson, the Terps are still just half a game out of first place. The Seminoles are 4-2, and N.C. State and Maryland are 3-2.
The only noteworthy change is that Clemson gained ground on the division leaders, and is now 3-3.
"We caught a break with Florida State and N.C. State losing, so we haven't lost any ground," Friedgen said.
The Terps head to Virginia (4-5, 1-4 ACC) on Saturday. It will be Maryland's fourth road game in five weeks. Virginia has won the past three meetings.
"This becomes a very big game for us this weekend," Friedgen said. "We've got to forget about last week's game. We played as hard as we can and it didn't work out."
Friedgen said the Terps "missed an opportunity to take a step forward. But, overall, we still control our own destiny."
The Atlantic Division winner will play the Coastal Division winner on Dec. 4 in Charlotte, N.C. Virginia Tech (7-2, 5-0 ACC) leads the Coastal Division.
Maryland is trying to position itself for a bowl game of note. The Terps became bowl-eligible with their victory over Wake Forest on Oct. 30.
Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin was asked Saturday how quickly his team could rebound emotionally from the last-minute loss. Miami receiver Leonard Hankerson put the Hurricanes ahead for good with a 35-yard touchdown reception with 37 seconds remaining.
Maryland drove to Miami's 30 in the final seconds before quarterback Danny O'Brien's final pass of the game fell incomplete.
"They're fighters," Franklin said. "Our focus now — we can't change this game — is on Virginia and doing everything we possibly can Sunday through Saturday to find a way to beat Virginia. Our kids have been through a bunch of adversity and they know how to handle it."