COLLEGE PARK -- This is not the same, old Maryland football team.
North Carolina, a regional television audience and a crowd of 27,077 at Byrd Stadium discovered that yesterday, as an angry Terrapins team pushed the Tar Heels around all afternoon on the way to a surprisingly easy, 45-7 victory.
Maryland (5-2, 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) is now one victory away from a winning season, has already won as many league games as coach Ron Vanderlinden registered in his first two seasons and bowl talk is no longer a fantasy.
So what was all the anger about going into the game with North Carolina?
Quarterback Calvin McCall was seething over some uncomplimentary pre-game remarks made by the Tar Heels about the Terps.
Defensive end Peter Timmins had heard enough about vaunted blue-and-white Carolina football program over the past five years to last him a long time.
Running back LaMont Jordan said he just wanted to forget about a school like North Carolina that "didn't have any faith in me" during the recruiting process three years ago.
Jordan is having the last laugh now as he continues to perform like an All-American, running for 147 yards and two touchdowns yesterday to move into third place on the all-time Maryland rushing list with 2,450. Jordan is 145 yards short of becoming the fourth 1,000-yard rusher in school history.
And coach Ron Vanderlinden kept impressing upon his players all week the importance of beating North Carolina.
It was Vanderlinden who delivered the derogatory North Carolina comments to his players, said McCall.
"Coach Vandy found some quotes from the North Carolina players this week saying they had already played all the tough teams on their schedule and we weren't one of them," said McCall. "That was a slap in the face to us. That meant they were putting us with Furman, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Duke. We felt we deserved a little better."
Timmins said: "When people turn on their TVs and see that we beat North Carolina like this, they're going to be shocked. I mean, all they know is that North Carolina has gone to six straight bowls and they're one of the most respected programs in the nation. Most of them probably don't even realize that they are now 1-6 this season."
When Jordan was trying to decide between North Carolina and Maryland, the Tar Heels cooled on him because they didn't want to wait for his SAT scores and offered his scholarship to someone else.
"I'm a Terp now, and I'll always be a Terp," said Jordan. "North Carolina means nothing to me."
That's exactly how Jordan and his teammates treated the Tar Heels all day.
The Terps not only threatened to hang an embarrassing shutout on North Carolina, which didn't score until there were 8 minutes, 25 seconds left, but they also equaled their largest margin of victory ever in the history of the series.
The 38-point margin tied a 38-0 victory registered by Maryland in 1989.
Maryland also took advantage of seven turnovers by the stumbling Tar Heels, the most by the team since 1975.
One of those turnovers was a matter of catching North Carolina by surprise.
Vanderlinden called for a onside kick in the first quarter, and Maryland's Chad Killian fell on the ball at the North Carolina 49-yard line with his team already up 17-0.
It was almost as if the Terps were toying with the Tar Heels so early in the game -- less than 10 minutes gone.
Before the successful onside kick, Maryland had scored on Marlon Moore's 51-yard touchdown return of an interception of Luke Huard's pass for a 10-0 lead with 6: 34 left in the first quarter. The Terps came back a little more than a minute later to score on an 18-yard touchdown pass by McCall to tight end Eric James for a 17-0 lead.
McCall's touchdown pass came two plays after Rod Littles recovered Sam Aiken's fumble on Brian Kopka's kickoff.
In all, it was a perfect day for Maryland, except for what first appeared to be a serious injury to defensive end Erwyn Lyght late in the second quarter, which sent a hush throughout the crowd and resulted in Lyght's being flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for X-rays.
But early tests were negative, and Lyght might be back on the practice field this week.
"Erwyn wanted to walk off the field on his own power, but they didn't want to let him," said Timmins, who collided with Lyght helmet-to-helmet when the injury occurred. "Imagine how I felt. If he had been hurt seriously, I was the one who ran into him."
But even the Lyght incident went Maryland's way yesterday.
"This was about as complete a win we've had all year," said Vanderlinden. "I'm proud of the way this team has turned things around."
Next for Maryland
Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Yesterday: Lost to N.C. State, 31-24, OT