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A season about to end

BOISE, Idaho -- This seems a strange place for Maryland to end its season -- 2,300 miles from campus in a slightly sleepy valley town surrounded by snow-covered mountains. Also seems odd to be playing on Boise State's blue field without the hometown Broncos being in the game.

Be that as it may, Maryland might catch a break with the weather. It's not as cold or snowy as it had been.

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Coach Friedgen has said Boise's weather was often comparable to College Park's norm, and that's not far from what the Terps and Nevada are going to get tomorrow -- temperatures in the high 30s.

I think Maryland is aided by the fact that there is this month-long gap between the last regular-season game and the Humanitarian Bowl. It really took the Terps a long time to come to grips with how their season ended. Maryland simply would have been too down to manage a good game immediately following the Florida State and Boston College losses. So do the Terps have a motivation issue? This is a litmus test of coaching, isn't it? To see if you can rally your team when everyone knows that this bowl game was far from the players' first choice.

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I'll have more on the motivation issue in a story later. Fridge has said the players had practiced well and seemed to be rebounding from the last two games.

My sense is that the players have found varying reasons for playing hard.

Many Terps say they want to send Fridge's largest-ever senior class out with a victory. Others are eager for a win to avoid ending the season with a three-game losing streak -- hardly the finish a team wants as it looks ahead to next year.

"It would just be nice to end on a high note," junior quarterback Chris Turner said.

By the way, I'm feeling like Maryland might lose this game. Not because of motivation, but because Nevada has a potent offense led by a 6-6 quarterback who rushed for more than 1,000 yards. I think the Terps can score on Nevada, but they need to prove they can play a full four quarters in a game away from home.

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