- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Maryland senior quarterback Shaun Hill will get his first taste of Tallahassee Saturday when the 10th-ranked Terrapins visit No. 19 Florida State. The last time the Terps went to Doak Campbell Stadium two years ago, Hill was playing for Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

Hill is not in Kansas anymore. The junior college transfer will have to be a major asset for the Terps to snap the Seminoles' 38-game ACC home-winning streak. Maryland should have an advantage at quarterback with the seasoned Hill against mistake-prone Chris Rix, the Seminoles' redshirt freshman, or true freshman Adrian McPherson.

"He has to play like he did last week for us to have a chance," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said of Hill's career bests of 323 yards passing and 105 rushing in the 59-17 throttling of Duke on Saturday. "He has to put us in the right running play, put us in the right passing play, make the right reads. Plus, he has to do it with about 86,000 people who don't want him to be successful. That's what's good. I love that. He needs to love that, too."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hill was having an undistinguished season before leading the Terps (7-0, 5-0 ACC) on a last-minute drive for a dramatic overtime win at 21st-ranked Georgia Tech. He expeditiously moved Maryland downfield to set up the game-tying field goal with no time remaining, allowing Maryland to pull off the 20-17 victory.

It will take those types of heroics to hand nine-time defending ACC champion Florida State (4-2, 3-1) its first loss to a conference opponent inside Doak Campbell Stadium.

"I've never been there," said Hill, who has seen the field on television countless times. "It's going to be exciting."

Hill is the classic intelligent quarterback with limited skills. Although he seemed to make the right reads earlier this season, he struggled with accuracy before getting on target against Georgia Tech and shredding Duke. Hill, a physical runner with good speed for his size, took advantage of the Blue Devils' decision to key on tailback Bruce Perry for several big gains, including an option keeper for 57 yards. He was named ACC offensive back of the week for his performance.

It is unlikely the low-key Hill will be fazed by hostile circumstances. He has faced difficult circumstances before, including playing in 50 mph winds in a junior college game on the Kansas plains. And he already has succeeded in an unfriendly situation at Georgia Tech. Hill said he broke his pregame routine of maintaining a stern appearance before Duke and even joked with teammates. It clearly worked.

"I saw a poise and confidence and exactness," said Friedgen, who felt Hill would have to play better before the Terps could fully contend for a league title. "He wasn't rattled. He went to where he had to go with his throws. I think a lot of that came out of the confidence he gained at Georgia Tech."

'On a mission'

Friedgen admits the team is ahead of schedule in his first season. The coach had a goal of six wins this year in the five-year plan he submitted to athletic director Debbie Yow when he accepted the job. Now the Terps are 7-0 and playing for an ACC title and a BCS berth, something the coach felt might happen in his third or fourth season.

Friedgen reminds his players of those things in practice not that they were walloped 59-7 by Florida State at Byrd Stadium last season or have been outscored by a combined 108-17 the last two meetings.

"We won't be overconfident," Friedgen said. "But I won't take anybody down there on the plane that doesn't go with the idea of winning. And I mean that. If I see any kind of hesitancy in practice, they won't be on the trip. We're going on a mission."

Extra points

Tony Okanlawon missed a second day of practice after suffering a concussion in the first half against Duke. Friedgen called his status "day-to-day." … Receiver Daryl Whitmer (shoulder injury) should play this week. …

Maryland leads the ACC in scoring offense at 36 points and scoring defense (15 points) and is second in the nation in turnover margin.

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