- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 1, 2002

The Maryland Terrapins will ring in the New Year in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl.
The 25th-ranked Terps earned the trip with a 32-14 victory over Wake Forest at Byrd Stadium yesterday to finish the regular season with a 10-3 record. Maryland will meet a Southeastern Conference team Dec.31 in the Georgia Dome.
"This is very special to me," said Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who accepted the invitation in an on-field ceremony following the game. "It couldn't have worked out any better."
The Peach Bowl matches the ACC's third selection against the SEC's fifth choice, likely Tennessee or Auburn.
The Peach Bowl became Maryland's best option this week after the Gator Bowl, which has the second choice among ACC teams, surprisingly invited N.C. State to the Jan.1 game.
The Wolfpack finished fourth in the conference but got the nod over Virginia and Maryland, which finished tied for second with 6-2 league records. Peach Bowl officials decided to chose the Terps if they won yesterday despite their 48-13 loss to Virginia a week earlier.
"We felt that even if Virginia won, [Maryland] would have 10 wins, they would have one more win overall," Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan said. "Maryland would be ranked higher. They are tied in the conference. We understand that Virginia beat Maryland, but winning nine out of your last 10 and having two losses to BCS teams [Florida State and possibly Notre Dame] We're happy with the Maryland decision, especially after seeing them play today."
Stokan said the committee also considered Maryland's track record for traveling well and bringing 24,000 fans to last season's Orange Bowl in Miami. The Atlanta bowl also sees a selling point in Friedgen, a popular figure in that area after spending nine seasons as an assistant at Georgia Tech.
Maryland will receive $2million for its bowl appearance and has purchased a block of 20,000 tickets for its fans. Virginia, meanwhile, likely is headed to the less prestigious Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
The Terps are happy with their destination considering that last week's loss took them out of BCS consideration and the slight from the Gator Bowl.
"I wanted to go to Atlanta from the start," receiver Scooter Monroe said. "We are really excited about it. I hear the Peach Bowl is a great bowl. We will have fun down there."
This will be Maryland's second consecutive bowl appearance after an 11-year drought before Friedgen arrived last season. The Terps went 10-1 on the 2001 regular season and won the ACC title before losing to Florida 56-23 in the Orange Bowl. This will be the Terps' first trip to the Peach Bowl since 1973, when they lost to Georgia 17-16 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
"It's a postseason bowl," All-American linebacker E.J. Henderson said. checking off the pluses. "It's a lot more time to spend with my teammates. We get to travel. We have one more national game."
The Terps will take this week off before resuming practice the week of Dec.8. The team will fly to Atlanta on Christmas Day.


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