For Maryland Football, 'It Can All End This Weekend'
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Maryland football team controls its destiny in the ACC's Atlantic Division, but that doesn't mean the Terrapins won't have a rooting interest in some other conference games Saturday.
Maryland can clinch the division title, and the corresponding berth in the ACC championship game Dec. 6 in Tampa, by beating Florida State on Saturday night in College Park and Boston College on Nov. 29 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. However, if Boston College loses to Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon and Maryland wins later that night, the Terrapins clinch the division title regardless of what happens in their regular season finale.
As linebacker Moise Fokou said, "It can all end this weekend."
Fokou said players are aware of all the scenarios that would get them to Tampa, which include a loss to Florida State and a win over Boston College, so long as Wake Forest beats the Eagles. There also is one scenario that would eliminate Maryland from title contention -- a loss to Florida State and a Boston College win over Wake Forest -- but no players mentioned that.
"To know we are this close, it is amazing," Fokou said.
There has been a sharp change in the mood of the players this week; they are upbeat and focused. After a wildly unpredictable season, the Terrapins finally can see the destination.
Fokou said the players are going to be tempted to keep tabs on the Wake Forest-Boston College game, but if the Demon Deacons are losing, he does not want to hear about it before Saturday night's kickoff at Byrd Stadium.
"We understand all the scenarios," Fokou said. "Our mentality is to win out and we are in Tampa."
'A Perfect Ending'
Fokou said he expects the 30 seniors to get together today for one last meeting before their final home game. He said they will talk about goals and focus, and that offensive lineman Jaimie Thomas usually has a lot to say.
With a chance to win the division against a tradition-rich program such as Florida State and a chance to be able to do it in the seniors' final home game, the scenario almost is too good to be true.
"You ever hear those things called perfect endings?" Fokou said. "That's what it would be, a perfect ending for our seniors."
Suspended WRs Return
The five Florida State wide receivers who were suspended for Saturday's loss to Boston College for their involvement in a fight on campus are expected to play this week. University police are continuing to investigate an altercation that allegedly involved members of the football team and a campus fraternity, but assuming there is no update on the investigation, Coach Bobby Bowden has no plans to further discipline Taiwan Easterling, Bert Reed, Corey Surrency, Cameron Wade and Richard Goodman.
"I will play them," Bowden said on a conference call with reporters. "They have had their punishment."
Praise for Heyward-Bey
The Seminoles seem particularly wary of the threat posed by Maryland junior wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
"He's made plays every time we've played them," Florida State safety Jamie Robinson said in Florida Today. "He's big. Fast. He's got speed. He's got good hands. That's a guy that Coach [Mickey] Andrews has been stressing -- to always know where he's at."
Seminoles cornerback Patrick Robinson was more succinct: "He's one of the fastest players I've ever played against. Ever."