- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Bruce Perry learned of Maryland's national ranking when a friend called him on Sunday. The Terrapins tailback immediately went to cyberspace to see the good news for himself.
"I downloaded it from the Internet and posted it on the wall," said Perry of Maryland's first ranking since 1995. "It's an accomplishment."
The Terps are No. 25 in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/ USA Today coaches polls. The new recognition has brought even more attention to Saturday's ACC showdown with Virginia at Byrd Stadium. The Terps (4-0, 2-0 ACC) and Cavaliers (3-1, 2-0) are tied for first place in the league, and the winner will have a full-game lead over the rest of the league.
Maryland is off to its best start since 1995 and a win Saturday would be a gigantic step toward the program reaching its first bowl game in 11 seasons. The Terps would be one victory away from becoming bowl eligible. And with home games left against lightly regarded opponents Duke and Troy State, seven wins which the Terps haven't reached since 1985 becomes more likely.
"I don't know if I envisioned us doing this well this soon," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "But I did envision big games."
Friedgen expects the program's first sellout since 1995 when Virginia comes to Byrd. The Cavaliers have won nine straight in the border battle, and four in a row in College Park. In 1999 at Byrd, Terps tailback LaMont Jordan rushed for a school-record 306 yards, but Virginia eked out a 34-30 win on a last-minute touchdown pass. That loss ended Maryland's season at 5-6 one victory shy of earning a bowl berth.
Perry, who leads the nation in rushing with a 169.5-yard average, was a true freshman then. He still vividly remembers how he felt after that very bitter defeat.
"Like empty," he said. "I don't ever want to feel like that again."
Friedgen calls the current rankings "premature." Though he is probably doing that in part to keep the team hungry, the characterization has some merit. The Terps haven't beaten a quality opponent. Their best win came against North Carolina, which has a 2-3 record although it soundly upset Florida State two weeks ago. The other victories were over decent Wake Forest and West Virginia teams and a 50-3 thumping of thoroughly outmanned Eastern Michigan.
The Terps passing attack and quarterback Shaun Hill have yet to get untracked. Maryland has overcome weak special teams, which allowed a 100-yard kickoff return last week and missed two extra points. The Terps have been penalty prone, and suffered five defensive penalties last week that contributed to three West Virginia scores.
Yet Maryland is undefeated on the strength of its potent running attack and defense, which has forced 13 turnovers. The Terps' offense has given away the ball only three times, and the team leads the nation in turnover margin at plus-2.5 per game. Maryland did not turn over the ball Saturday while getting four interceptions and recovering two fumbles including one loose ball picked up and returned 52 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Mike Whaley for the go-ahead score.
"We have 10 interceptions right now, and some teams don't have 10 in an entire year," said Friedgen, who has equated "death" to turning the ball over. "As far as [causing] fumbles, we work on strip drills every day. The fumble Mike Whaley caused and ran in for a TD came from him stripping the ball."
The defense has led Maryland into the national rankings for the first time in six seasons. Now that the Terps have arrived on the national scene, the goal is to score an even higher ranking.
"We just know if we get a big head everything can go downhill," said receiver Scooter Monroe, a junior who sees the coming game as the program's biggest in a decade. "I just want to go out and win so bad to prove this isn't a fluke, that we are not going to roll over after a 4-0 start like we may have in the past."
Notes Marlon Moye-Moore is back practicing with the team. The linebacker was convicted of second-degree assault last week, but cleared of more serious felony charges. Friedgen said the senior could be used on special teams as early as Saturday. Leon Joe has been having a solid season in the weakside linebacker spot where Moye-Moore started last season.
"It gives us depth at the linebacker position," Whaley said of Moye-Moore's return. "He is going to add more depth to the defense. He's a very strong player. I learned a lot of my techniques from Marlon." …
Terps linebacker E.J. Henderson was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for a second time this season. The junior from Aberdeen, Md., had a career-high 18 tackles (14 solo) against West Virginia… . Maryland's homecoming game against Duke on Oct. 20 will start at 1 p.m.

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