- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2002

E.J. Henderson has one major item missing from his impressive resume, and tonight is his last chance to add it as Maryland tries to upset fifth-ranked Florida State before a sellout crowd at Byrd Stadium and a national television audience.
"I beat all the other ACC schools except them," the All-American linebacker and conference player of the year said in his usual matter-of-fact fashion. "They have always been one of the top programs in the nation. I can't really say we beat a top-10 team since I've been in college. Beating them would be another notch in my belt."
The Terps have lost 14 games to top-10 teams since defeating then-No.8 Virginia in 1990. Nine of those losses were to Florida State. Maryland has lost 12 meetings with the Seminoles,10 of them since Florida joined the ACC in 1992.
The chances of Maryland (1-1, 0-0 ACC) ending that run appear slim. The Terrapins tossed a scare into Florida State last season when the teams were tied 31-31 going into the fourth quarter before Chris Rix and the Seminoles pulled away to a 52-31 win. Many of the key Maryland players in that game aren't on this year's team.
The Terps have inexperienced players everywhere, including starting quarterback Scott McBrien and tailback Chris Downs. Meanwhile, Florida State (2-0, 1-0) returns the core of a talented but young team. The Seminoles have regained their swagger after losing the ACC title to Maryland for the first time last season and finishing with an 8-4 record.
"We're going to be back on top of the league this year," said Rix, who is widely regarded as one of the nation's elite quarterbacks and is one of 16 starters back.
The trash-talking Seminoles also have a chip on their shoulder after the Terps took "their" title. Florida State finished 6-2 in the ACC with losses to North Carolina and N.C.State. Maryland passed the Seminoles by not losing any other ACC games.
"They lost a battle to us, but they won the war," said Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, whose Seminoles had their streak of 14 straight 10-victory seasons and top-five seasons snapped last year.
As usual, the Seminoles have a high-powered offense averaging 39 points. They feature a rushing attack behind a senior-laden line that averages 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds per man. Florida State gained 397 yards rushing in its 40-19 rout of Virginia last week as junior tailback Greg Jones contributed a career-high 173.
The 6-4, 10-pound Rix, who threw for 350 yards and five touchdowns last season against Maryland, has most of his top receivers back. He passed for 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season and again will look to pick apart the Terps' secondary.
"They have to help us some too," Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We have to make some things happen. We have to get some turnovers. We have to do well in the kicking game. It would be nice if we could stop the run without putting everybody in there to do it. Because once you do that, they are one-on-one on the outside. That's when they go up top and make big plays on you."
Maryland hopes for a low-scoring game so its offense won't have to match Florida State's firepower. McBrien, a junior who will make his fourth college start, was efficient in last week's 44-14 victory over Akron.
"We need to make a statement," the 6-foot junior said. "We can't come out and go three-and-out. But if we make a few first downs, that says something right there to move the ball on this team. I know they will come after me. Our line does a great job protecting. If I have time to deliver, our receivers are talented enough and are well prepared to take on the challenge. It will be a huge challenge."
The Terps have adopted a nothing-to-lose mentality because no one outside College Park gives them a chance.
"The pressure is on FSU to come out and really spank us," Henderson said. "That's what they've been saying since the preseason 'same old Maryland.' They have to live up to what they have been talking about."


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