RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Only in his wildest dreams
did Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen imagine that the Terrapins
would win the Atlantic Coast Conference title in his first year
at the helm. But he has no trouble shooting for the sky.
"One radio station asked me the other day, 'In your wildest
dreams, did you ever think that you could be 9-1?'" Friedgen
said. "And I said, 'Yes, in my wildest dreams.' I always dream
A victory at North Carolina State on Saturday will allow No. 9
Maryland to clinch its first undisputed ACC championship since
1985 and a berth in the Bowl Championship Series.
Maryland also can become the first team other than Florida State
to win the ACC title since the Seminoles joined the conference
in 1992. Additionally, the Terrapins (9-1, 6-1 ACC) are looking
to reach 10 wins for the first time since 1976 and just the
fifth time in school history.
Having led Maryland to its first winning season since 1995 and
its first bowl appearance since 1990, Friedgen is a leading
candidate for National Coach of the Year.
But beating North Carolina State (6-3, 4-3) will not be easy.
Last week, the Wolfpack become the first ACC team to win at
Florida State, stunning the Seminoles, 34-28.
The victory allowed Maryland to move into sole possession of
first place in the ACC, but also improved North Carolina
State's bowl position.
Philip Rivers completed 26-of-33 passes for 245 yards with one
interception against Florida State, while Ray Robinson ran for
106 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a huge win for North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato, a
former Florida State assistant who was making his first
appearance in Tallahassee since taking over the Wolfpack program
two years ago. Now North Carolina State hopes to play spoiler
Shaun Hill completed 12-of-21 passes for 189 yards and two
touchdowns in Maryland's 37-20 win over Clemson last week.
Bruce Perry ran for 90 yards on 21 carries and has gained an
ACC-high 1,151 yards. Terrapins' foes have rushed for just 959
If Maryland loses on Saturday, it can also capture a share of
the ACC crown and a BCS bowl berth if Florida State falls at
Georgia Tech on December 1.
The Seminoles handed Maryland its only loss, 52-31, on October
27, but ACC rules stipulate that the head-to-head meeting is
superseded if one team is ranked an average of five spots ahead
of the other in the two major polls.
Florida State slipped to 20th following its loss to North
Carolina State and has to play No. 3 Florida this weekend.
Maryland posted a 35-28 double overtime victory over the
Wolfpack last season, rallying from a 21-6 halftime deficit. The
win cut N.C. State's lead in the all-time series to 27-25-2.