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Maryland's defeat tells FSU little about today

The 'Noles expect to see the Terps play much better than against Northern Illinois.

BRIAN LANDMAN
Published September 6, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - To Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, last weekend's resounding win at North Carolina must carry an asterisk.

He's encouraged by the offense's efficiency in scoring 37 points.

"I don't ever remember doing that good the first game of the year offensively," he said. "I don't remember going into the first game where you score the first three out of four times you have the ball and the first one you mess up. ... That don't usually happen."

He's encouraged by the defensive effort. The Seminoles last had a road shutout in 1988.

"That's really one of my favorite stats," he said.

But he knows one game doesn't make or break a season.

The Maryland Terrapins are saying the same thing for a different reason as they come to Doak Campbell Stadium for FSU's home opener and Maryland's Atlantic Coast Conference opener.

The Terps were No.15 in the AP preseason poll but fell out of the Top 25 after a 20-13 overtime loss Aug. 28 at lightly regarded Northern Illinois. Florida State is ranked 11th.

"I think our team has a lot of belief in itself, even after last week," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. "We didn't play our best and made some stupid mistakes. I keep preaching to them it's about heart and it's about determination and it's about perseverance to go down there and expect to win. We know it's a tough situation, but I've never played in a game that I didn't expect to win, and I expect my team to be the same way."

"The question is how much looking ahead were they doing; were they practicing some for Florida State?" Bowden said in trying to understand Maryland's performance. "But there's no doubt about it. They will be focused. They were going to be focused anyway because they'll be playing Florida State, but now they're going to be focused even more so."

The Seminoles can't expect Maryland's offense to amass just 222 total yards (112 rushing, 110 passing) as it did in its opener.

"Ralph Friedgen is an offensive genius, to tell you the truth," FSU defensive tackle Travis Johnson said. "He's going to come up with something out of this world."

And the Seminoles can't expect the Terps to commit nine penalties for 90 yards again.

"We haven't been a team that's been penalized a lot," Friedgen said. "One of the things we really stress is to play by the rules and not beat yourself. We kind of did that (vs. Northern Illinois). If we're going to win football games, we can't be doing that."

Last, the Seminoles can't expect that a veteran Maryland defense, especially its secondary, will struggle as much as it did in Week 1. Northern Illinois quarterback Josh Haldi threw for 266 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown in overtime.

"At first when you see (their loss) on the news, you're shocked and blown away," FSU quarterback Chris Rix said. "Your first reaction is, we've got these guys at home, they've lost to a team that you don't hear about a lot. But that's a trap we've fallen into in the past, being overconfident. ... I don't feel anything less than perfection or close to perfection can guarantee us a win in this ballgame."

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