The Washington Times - October 13, 2008, 10:30AM

Want one of my best arguments supporting the job Ralph Friedgen did the first half of this decade?

He beat a Jim Grobe-coached team five straight times. The only other coach to pull that off was Bobby Bowden, and he had a talent edge as vast as a canyon from 2001 to 2005.


Of course, Maryland has lost to Wake the last two years, once with a division title at stake and the other in the biggest meltdown under Friedgen (a 21-point lead disappearing in the final 17 minutes).

Some of those games were good. Some were sort of blah. Here’s a quick primer on Maryland-Wake heading into Saturday’s game:

2001: The Bruce Perry Game, Part I. Perry ran for 276 yards (second-highest in school history) as Maryland earned a 27-20 victory. Wake never got closer than seven points in the second half.

2002: The Peach Bowl clincher. Maryland bolted to a 27-0 lead at halftime, had two tailbacks with at least 78 yards (Perry and Chris Downs) and accepted their invitation to Atlanta after a 32-14 victory at Byrd Stadium.

2003: The Bruce Perry Game, Part II. Perry ran for 237 yards in his return engagement in Winston-Salem, ripping off touchdown runs of 49 and 80 yards in the third quarter as Maryland rallied for a 41-28 victory. This might go down as the second-most meaningless game of the Friedgen years, since Maryland already accepted a Gator Bowl invite earlier in the week. The game it trails on that list is…

2004: Playing for very little. Truly the most meaningless game of the Friedgen era, since it matched a pair of 4-6 teams who weren’t going to bowl games. But there were still two significant developments. First, Sam Hollenbach made his first career start at quarterback; he’d go on to become a two-year starter. Second, tailback Josh Allen suffered a serious knee injury in the 13-7 victory and would miss the entire 2005 season.

2005: The details are foggy. Some games you remember all the details of. Some, you can barely recall anything, even if you were there. That’s what this 22-12 Maryland victory seems like to me. Josh Wilson returned a fumble for a score. Keon Lattimore had a good second half. But otherwise, it was sort of dull.

2006: Divisional playoff. This was a de facto playoff game —- one Maryland wasn’t especially sharp in. Wake Forest ran for 296 yards and seemed in control almost from the start in a 38-24 victory that sent the Demon Deacons onto the ACC title game.

2007: The meltdown. With the help of Alphonso Smith bringing back Jordan Steffy‘s interception 100 yards for a score, Wake Forest erased a 24-3 deficit in the final 17 minutes, then handled matters in overtime for a 31-24 victory.

—- Patrick Stevens