After Maryland's first free Saturday of the fall, Coach Ralph Friedgen complained that his team's timing suffered during the break, and indeed, the Terps lost their next two games. The second bye week was worse. That two-week span, ending today, was marred by an off-campus fight and the suspension of four players. "You know, right now I'm wishing we didn't have bye weeks," Friedgen said last week. Maryland's return to the field comes against a team that has gone in the opposite direction after its bye. Since an open date last month, the Tar Heels have faced three ranked teams and won twice.
A Familiar Face
Bowie High product Barrington Edwards, right, was offered a scholarship by Maryland, but when Lance Ball gave the Terps an early commitment, they no longer needed another running back. Edwards instead headed to Louisiana State before transferring to North Carolina last year. Now a sophomore, he has gained 394 yards this season and is the ACC's 12th-leading rusher. Edwards splits carries with Ronnie McGill, who has rushed for 285 yards after returning from a torn chest muscle four games ago. Ball, who now starts for Maryland, is fifth in the league in rushing.
Maryland starting quarterback Sam Hollenbach said that he'll be able to throw the football despite the left collarbone separation he suffered two games ago. "I think it's just a matter of me being able to feel confident in really pulling the trigger and letting it go," said Hollenbach, who will wear customized shoulder pads. If he is hurt again, the Terps will turn to Joel Statham, who had an up-and-down performance in Maryland's loss to Florida State.
Going for Three
What figures to be a close game could turn on place kicking, where both teams have been erratic of late. Maryland's Dan Ennis had missed four of his last five field goal attempts before hitting two against Florida State. North Carolina's Connor Barth missed eight of his first 11 attempts this year before going 3 for 3 against Boston College last week.
In two of their four losses, including their last outing against Florida State, the Terps have led entering the fourth quarter. In another loss, against West Virginia, Maryland trailed by one before allowing 24 fourth-quarter points. Overall, Maryland is one of four ACC teams that have been outscored in the second half this season. The Tar Heels are also in that group, having been outscored by 55 after halftime.