A week of football cliches will climax today at Byrd Stadium and on regional television when evenly matched Maryland and North Carolina slug it out.
The winner will be in the driver's seat for at least a tie for the Atlantic Coast Conference title that Maryland has won for the last three years.UNC brings in a defense that is first in the nation against scoring to battle a balanced Maryland offense. UNC coach Bill Dooley warned, "It will be one of those games not for the weak of heart."
Navy coach George Welsh is to be forgiven a few heart flutters today when his 4-3 Mids play at 5-1 Notre Dame. "Most of the time, Notre Dame has better personnel than we do," said Welsh. "The only time we really matched up was in 1975.
"I'm realistic enough to know that if Notre Dame is sharp and going, they should win. If we play our best game, we should stay in the game. But I don't know if we're good enough to win."
Welsh said that weekday practices are usually punctuated by yells and wisecracks, but noted that this week, like the days before the Michigan game, "it's been so quiet, it's frigtening."
UNC has tailback "Famous" Amos Lawrence adding new life to its offense, while the defense has given up only 6.3 points and 231 yards a game. The Tar Heels have lost only twice in seven games, to nationally ranked Texas Tech and Kentucky, both by 10-7 scores. North Carolina is 2-0 in the ACC.
But Maryland is a 5 1/2 point favorite, porbably because Terrapin quarterback Larry Dick, who has completed 64 per cent of his passes in-994 yards, is the best passer UNC has faced.
Maryland 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference, leads the ACC in scoring with 22.3 points a game, and has averaged 30 points a contest in its present three-game win streak.
"This will be the toughest test for our defense," said Dooley, "because of the combination of Steve Atkins and Preacher Maddox attailback, and Larry Dick and their outstanding receivers. From the standpoint of a running and passing attack, Maryland is the best team we've faced."
The backbone of Carolina's defense is its line, anchored by All-America candidate Dee Hardison at tackle. Although the secondary has been average, the Tar Heels have added speed there, and Maryland may be forced to test it because UNC's defensive line may be too much for the Terp's young offensive line.
Maryland coach Jerry Claiborne figures Carolina will key on Atkins. If that causes problems, he says he may order more handoffs to the fullbacks, Mickey Dudish and George Scott.
Maryland will be without defensive tackle Ernie Salley, who sprained a knee last week. Backup defensive guard Larry Seder will also be absent with a sprained ankle, and offensive lineman Richard Cummins out with a leg injury.
"We're at the saturation point in injuries," said Claiborne. The game could be decided by injuries, or by four or five key plays. That is what college football is all about."
Carolina is the only ACC team to beat Claiborne at home.
Maryland has one conference game left, against Virginia, almost a gimme while Carolina must face nationally ranked Clemson, and then Virginia and Duke.
Howard is 2-4 and will try to get back on the winning track against Hampton today at Howard Stadium.
"We've got the approach everything in a positive manner," said Bison coach Doug Porter. "We're going to have to work hard and stick together and not point any fingers or blame ourselves individually."