Terrapins set to settle score with North Carolina


COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland right guard Ron Staffileno remembers the frustration of last year's 24-0 loss to North Carolina. He says the Tar Heels tried to run up the score.

"It's definitely something you don't forget," said Staffileno, a senior. "They had control of the game and were trying to rub it in during the fourth period.

"Players don't forget when people rub something in your face," he said. "It just makes you want to play your best the next time you get a shot at them."

Maryland (2-6, 1-4) gets that chance today (1:30 p.m.) against North Carolina (6-2, 3-2) in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Byrd Stadium.

A year ago, North Carolina went ahead, 24-0, on a field goal with nearly 12 minutes left in the game. But with 4:21 remaining, on fourth-and-one from the Maryland 22, North Carolina tried and failed for the first down with an incomplete pass.

The Tar Heels got the ball back nearly a minute later, and passed twice in a series that ended at the Maryland 22 as time expired.

After the game, former Maryland coach Joe Krivak was irate. And during a team meeting, he vowed to run up the score if he every got another opportunity against North Carolina coach Mack Brown.

"He was ticked and I was ticked," said Mike Jarmolowich, Maryland's senior inside linebacker. "They were going for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter. They rubbed it in our faces. Now we get a chance to show them a little College Park."

But the Tar Heels will be inspired, too. They are shooting for bigger goals -- a possible major bowl bid. Since losing to Florida State, 36-13, three weeks ago, North Carolina has beaten Virginia, 27-7, and then Georgia Tech, 26-14.

After last week's victory over Tech, North Carolina fans tore down the goal posts to celebrate the first time in the school's history the Tar Heels had beaten Top 20 teams on consecutive weekends.

"Can we play with the same intensity on the road at Maryland?" said Brown. "It's one thing to win at home when everybody in the stadium wants to tear down the goal posts. It's another thing to do it on the road."

"You try to get rid of that one [against Georgia Tech] and understand how important the next one becomes," Brown said. "When you're losing, you try to make progress each week. But now, the stakes are much higher."

The Maryland-North Carolina game will be an interesting matchup. The Tar Heels like to run the option to set up the pass. Junior tailback Natrone Means leads the team in rushing, averaging 109.8 yards. In two previous games against the Terps, he has rushed for more than 100 yards.

Means gets stronger as the game goes on; Maryland's defense seems to weaken. The Terps are allowing 430.3 yards of total offense.

North Carolina, though, has not faced a passing attack like Maryland's. The Tar Heels are allowing 152.8 yards passing a game; Maryland is averaging 327.5. But expect the Tar Heels to jam Maryland receivers at the line of scrimmage, a technique that has caused the Terps problems this season.

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