Maryland, looking to straighten itself out, invades Raleigh for a football game against North Carolina State today while 30 miles to the west, in Durham. Navy will be hoping to remain on track against Duke.
Alot more will be at stake for the Terrapins than their string of 21 straight Atlantic Coast conference victories when they face the powerful Wofpack at 1:30.
The Terrapins, struggling offensively and defensively while losing their last two games, have vowed to pull themselves together.
Another loss could ruin Maryland's confidence and its season. A victory, especially in a conference game, could help solve a lot of problems.
North Carolina State (3-1/ has the same type of high-powered offense as West Virginia and Penn State, the two teams that dumped Maryland the past two weeks.
The Woldpack leads the ACC in total offense (467 yards a game), rushing offense (305 yards) and scoring (29 points). N.C. State also boasts the ACC's individual offense leader, quarterback Johnny Evans, as well as three of the conference's top 10 rushers in Ted Brown, Billy Ray Vickers and Rickey Adams.
Maryland's big guns were supposed to be quarterback Mark Manges and running back Steve Atkins, but both have been disappointments.
Manges will start over Larry Dick, but coach Jerry Claiborne says he will be quick to yank Manges if he has trouble moving the team.
Atkins has been bothered by knee problems and hasn't impressed anyone lately, not even himself.
"I went up to coach Claiborne's office and had a long talk with him earlier in the week," Atkins said. "I know I haven't been running right all year and I didn't know what was going on."
Atkins strained a knee ligament in the loss to Penn State Saturday and won't start today. "Talking to coach helped," Atkins said. "I just want to get back to playing."
Preacher Maddox will replace Atkins. He is expected to be backed up by George Scott.
In other lineup changes, John Stanford is to start at safety for Jonathan Claiborn, who has a hamstring pull; Chris Ward will start at right cornerback for Doug Harbert, who broke his collarbone against Penn State, and Bruce Palmer apparently has beaten out Larry Seder at left guard.
Navy coach George Welsh says he will know a lot more about his 2-1 team after the Duke game.
The Mids played as well as they could against Michigan last week. They outgained and outplayed the Welverines, who were No. 1 in the nation at the time, but still lost, 14-7.
"It's been our history not to play well the week after playing Michigan." Welsh said. "I hope that has changed. It's going to be tough to play with as much emotion as we had against Michigan for two weeks in a row, though.
"This is an important game for us, but it's too early in the season for this to be a crucial game."
Duke is 1-2, including a 21-9 defeat at Michigan, but the Blue Devils have a big, physical team.
The offense is all Mike Dunn, a 6-foot-5 quarterback who leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing and is second in total offense. He has completed 65 per cent of his passes.
Duke is basically an option team that uses two tight ends and a flanker.
"Our strengths differ to some extent from theirs." Duke coach Mike McGee said, "but it will be an evenly matched game."
Navey quarterback Bob Lesczynski is a classic dropback passer, and where Duke would prefer to move the ball on the ground, the Mids like to do it through the air.
"Navy will have the most effective throwing team we'll face all year," McGee said.
Leszczynski has completed 34 of 65 passes and was 14 of 21 for 173 yards and a touchdown against Michigan.
In other games involving area teams today. Catholic visits Galludet and the University of D.C. plays at Duquesne.