Terps Rolling Into Death Valley

The Maryland Terrapins come into Death Valley Saturday evening with a 7 game winning streak, which is currently the 4th longest run in Division I-A college football. The Tigers will be looking for their first win over a ranked opponent this season.

If Maryland is to win eight straight games for the first time in 24 years, it will have to win on the road against Clemson for the first time in 17 years.

The 19th-ranked Terrapins (8-2, 4-1) hope to remain in the hunt for the Atlantic Coast Conference title when they visit Clemson (6-4, 4-3) on Saturday night.

A seven-game win streak has moved Maryland into second place in the ACC, 1½ games behind Florida State, which has won all six of its league games.

Since losing two of their first three, the Terps have outscored their last seven opponents 292-78.

Nick Novak kicked a 26-yard field goal with 34 seconds remaining Saturday, extending Maryland's streak to seven with a 24-21 victory over No. 14 North Carolina State.

The Terps, who own the fourth-longest current win streak in Division I-A, are now on pace for a New Year's Day bowl game.

"We're in it now," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "Every game is huge. I think our kids showed their character today. We kept making mistakes - penalties, delay of games, 12 people in the huddle - and we had to do some things that were a little different for us, we expanded the offense a little. N.C. State did a good job of taking our normal stuff away. We adapted."

A victory Saturday would give the Terps their first eight-game win streak since the 1978 squad opened 8-0.

Extending the streak, however, will not be easy since Maryland had lost eight straight games against Clemson before a 37-20 victory last season. While that win came at home, the Terps have lost eight in a row at Death Valley since a 34-31 triumph in 1985.

Even if Maryland wins its final three games and finishes 7-1 in the ACC, it would still need Florida State to lose its final two league games against North Carolina and North Carolina State.

"November is all ACC games," Maryland's Scott McBrien said. "Whenever you have an ACC opponent, it's always your biggest game. We just need to keep the ball rolling. Every week we have to step it up a little bit."

Clemson got another strong performance from freshman quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and became bowl eligible with a 42-12 rout of North Carolina on Saturday.

Whitehurst, the first Clemson quarterback to win his first two starts since Dexter McCleon in 1993, has completed 46 of 72 passes for 694 yards and seven touchdowns in his last two games.

Tommy Bowden knows Whitehurst hasn't seen a team as strong as the one he will see Saturday.

"This will be a good indicator," Bowden said. "Maryland is better than both the teams we've just played and they've beaten those teams rather significantly. We all need to play better for us to win Saturday, and he's just a piece of the puzzle. Everybody plays a significant role, but this will be a bigger measuring stick than last week for sure."

Clemson is 0-3 against ranked teams this season, losing to Georgia, Florida State and North Carolina State.

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