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Surprising Terps, Cavs Battle for ACC Lead

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COLLEGE PARK, MD. — Maryland and Virginia haven't beenAtlantic Coast Conference powers for years, but their annualmeeting usually carries some significance.

This year, the game takes on a new meaning, with the conferencelead on the line. The No. 25 Terrapins (4-0, 2-0 ACC) are lookingfor their best start since 1978. Virginia (3-1, 2-0) lost itsopener against Wisconsin but earned a shot at first place with winsover Clemson and Duke. Every other ACC team has at least oneconference loss, so the winner will have a clear advantage in thechampionship race.

"The fact that we're playing for a share of the ACC lead makesit the biggest game here in some time," Maryland coach RalphFriedgen said.

The last time the two teams played at Maryland two years ago,the Terps were 5-5 and needed a victory over Virginia to qualifyfor a bowl. Maryland's LaMont Jordan rushed for a school-record 306yards, but Virginia won 34-30 on a touchdown pass with 26 secondsleft.

"That was a crucial point in our season, obviously," Marylandreceiver Scooter Monroe said. "That gives us a little bit moremotivation to play hard."

From 1969-1988, Maryland won 18 of 19 meetings, but Virginia haswon 11 of the last 13, including nine in a row. Friedgen, aMaryland alumnus, said this game has a direct bearing on thesuccess of his program.

"We're in direct competition with Virginia for a lot of highschool players. It's a big game for bragging rights."

The Terps' last victory in Charlottesville, in 1990, earned themtheir last bowl bid, with a 6-5 record.

But Virginia has picked up some important victories atMaryland's expense.

Both times the Cavaliers won the ACC title, in 1989 and 1995,they clinched first place with a victory over the Terps.

George Welsh became the first coach in conference history to win100 games when Virginia beat Maryland in 1996.

Maryland's players are anxious to turn the tables and show thattheir perfect record isn't a fluke.

"We have a lot to prove," sophomore linebacker Mike Whaleysaid. "We're not done yet."

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