Maryland, winner of four straight games after an 0-2 start, and Duke, loser of three straight after a 3-0 start, play an Atlantic Coast Conference football game that brings together two of the conference's top quarterbacks in the 1:30 game at Byrd Stadium today.
The Terrapins lost their first two games on the road, to nationally ranked opponents. Duke's hot start included victories at Tennessee and South Carolina before nearly 160,000 fans. But the Blue Devils then became victims of overconfidence.
A homecoming crowd of nearly 40,000 is expected to watch a game that should be high-scoring since the quarterbacks, Duke's Ben Bennett and Maryland's Boomer Esiason, rank at or near the top in many ACC offensive categories.
In a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference homecoming game, Howard will play winless North Carolina A&T at 1 p.m. in RFK Stadium. The Bison are looking to even their record at 4-4 after a disastrous start.
It is the last homecoming for Tracy Singleton, Howard's all-time leading receiver who is nearing a Division I-AA record for career receptions.
It's also homecoming in Annapolis, where Navy will try to win its sixth game in as many meetings with The Citadel, at 2 in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
And winless Virginia, after a week off, will play Wake Forest at 1:30 in Charlottesville, with the loser likely to finish last in the ACC.
At Maryland, Duke hasn't beaten the Terrapins in 10 years, and the Blue Devils' defense will have to play much better than it has the last three weeks to end that streak.
For all the attention given to Maryland's rushing defense, ranked fourth in the nation, the Terrapins' offense has been nearly unstoppable in recent weeks.
"They have a definite pro flavor in the offensive attack," Duke Coach Red Wilson said. "With a quarterback the quality of Esiason, they can throw the ball whenever they need to."
Maryland has developed enough offensive weapons that an injury or poor performance by a player or two means little. Coach Bobby Ross is using so many receivers and running backs that it's difficult for an opposing team to know which one will strike next.
Defensively, Maryland will again have to watch for the pass--as many as 60 of them--for the second straight week. "Duke puts it up and doesn't take long to score," said defensive end Howard Eubanks.
There may also be more passing at Navy than usual. After last week's 39-3 victory over William and Mary, Navy Coach Gary Tranquill indicated the Midshipmen may pass more the rest of the season.
Quarterback Marco Pagnanelli has completed 61 percent of his passes and thrown seven touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Wake Forest, which allowed Maryland 52 points last week, shouldn't have such problems with Virginia. The Cavaliers, according to Coach George Welsh, have regressed each week since losing the season opener to Navy.
Virginia must have an effective pass rush if the Cavaliers are to contain Wake Forest quarterback Gary Schofield, who completed 40 of 65 passes -- both NCAA season highs -- against Maryland.