- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2001

Maryland moved into the top 10 in the Associated Press poll for the first time in 16 seasons yesterday, and the 10th-ranked Terps won't have to wait long to see if they are worthy of the lofty status.
Florida State is not the juggernaut it used to be, but the 19th-ranked Seminoles still are the beasts of the ACC as the nine-time defending champion. On Saturday, Maryland (7-0, 5-0 ACC) visits Tallahassee, where the 'Noles have never lost an ACC game a span of 37 games since joining the league and conquering the throne in 1992.
"This is strange territory," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, after his Terps stayed perfect by demolishing Duke 59-17 on Saturday. "There will be a certain amount of intimidation that [Florida State] will try to do. If they put that horse near me with that spear, he's going to get hit with a Gatorade bottle. We'll throw the whole bucket on the horse."
Friedgen plans to build up the Terps' already soaring confidence this week in hopes of doing something no ACC team has ever done. The seven wins are the most by Maryland since 1985. The Terps sit alone atop the ACC and a victory Saturday would be among the biggest in program history, making a conference title and a BCS bowl berth realistic. The coach said he regularly reminds his players that they already pulled off a monumental win at No. 21 Georgia Tech this season.
"We have to believe we can win," said Friedgen, whose Terps came from behind to beat the Yellow Jackets 20-17 in overtime. "We've been in one type of championship game, and came out with a win. [Florida State] is another hostile environment and a good football team. Hopefully, the win at Georgia Tech will help us."
The Seminoles (4-2, 3-1) are suddenly vulnerable, ravaged by injuries and off-the-field problems after losing the majority of last season's team, which lost to Oklahoma in the national title game.
North Carolina trounced Florida State 41-9 four weeks ago for only its third ACC loss since entering the conference. The Seminoles also had their 10-year, 54-game unbeaten streak at Doak Campbell Stadium snapped when top-ranked Miami dismantled them 49-27 on Oct. 13.
"Florida State is kind of the bully of the ACC," said Maryland receiver Scooter Monroe, who vividly remembers the Seminoles' 59-7 spanking of the Terps last season at Byrd Stadium. "They have won [the ACC] the last nine years. They exposed us last year. Hopefully, this year we can get a little redemption. We've already been successful … in situations where we haven't been successful before. Now, we're like, 'Why can't we do it again?'"
Now that they're 7-0 for the first time in 23 seasons, the Terps are starting to feel that this is their year. Quarterback Shaun Hill had a breakout game against the Blue Devils, shredding them for 323 passing yards and 105 rushing yards. And Maryland's defense, which has led the way all year, recorded three more interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Maryland has 17 picks on the season and eight fumble recoveries, while turning over the ball just nine times (five interceptions and four fumbles). The blitz-heavy defense will try to rattle Seminoles freshman quarterback Chris Rix, who has been prone to mistakes in pressure situations.
"This is a different type of team than Florida State normally has," Friedgen said. "They are showing a tremendous patience in the running game."
The 'Noles are coming off a 43-7 pasting of Virginia, but only led 10-7 in the third quarter before turnovers led to the Cavaliers' meltdown. Florida State isn't the same national championship contender it had been for so long, when Heisman trophy winners like Chris Weinke and Charlie Ward put up astronomical numbers with a pro-style offense.
Now it's up to the Terps to take advantage if they hope to make a great season even better. To do that, Maryland needs to utilize perhaps its greatest strength this season not beating itself while taking advantage of opponents' miscues, like Georgia Tech's six turnovers.
"Friedgen has basically taught us how to win," said safety Tony Jackson, who has four interceptions. "We know we can win in that kind of atmosphere."
Notes
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden tied Pop Warner with his 319th career win Saturday against Virginia. It came just two days after the 71-year old got a raise to $2 million a year that put him among the NCAA's highest-paid coaches. … Friedgen's weekly news conference will air live on ESPNews tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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