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Terps, Tech aim to ride momentum from upset wins

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland and Georgia Tech have traveled identical paths this season. When the teams collide today, the result will go a long way toward determining the direction each goes from here.

The winner will be 4-2 with a two-game winning streak. The other will be stalled at 3-3.

'It's been a real roller coaster,' Terrapins wide receiver Danny Oquendo said. 'We have to try and keep that high.'

The Terps and Yellow Jackets both started 2-0. Maryland then lost to fourth-ranked West Virginia at home, two days before host Georgia Tech fell to 15th-ranked Boston College.

The following week, Maryland blew a 21-point lead in a disappointing road loss to Wake Forest. That same day, Georgia Tech dropped a 28-23 decision at Virginia.

The pattern continued last week, when the Terrapins and Yellow Jackets ended two-game skids in style: Maryland shocked 10th-ranked Rutgers and Georgia Tech thumped No. 13 Clemson.

Now, it's time to take the next step.

'We have to mentally prepare like the way we prepared last week,' Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett said. 'We're still going to be hungry and motivated. We know we still have to work to get where we are trying to go as a team.'

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen carefully watched the game film this week. In his view, the Georgia Tech team that lost to Virginia was not the same one that manhandled previously unbeaten Clemson.

'I think in this league you can only get up so many times. Not to take anything away from Virginia, because they played very, very well, but the intensity Georgia Tech had in that game wasn't quite the same I've seen in other games,' Friedgen said.

Then again, the Maryland team that gave up 28 straight points to Wake Forest did not look like the one that ran over Rutgers. The Terps proved last week they could rebound from a disheartening defeat; now they must show they can build on an uplifting victory.

'It's kind of the same thing. That game is over; you've got to put it behind you,' Oquendo said. 'We've got Georgia Tech this week, so we've got to focus on them.'

But the Terrapins should benefit from the feel-good feeling that comes from beating the 10th-ranked team in the nation.

'It's a great confidence boost. Guys who didn't have that swagger last week are starting to develop it a little more this week,' left guard Jaimie Thomas said. 'Hopefully we'll see that confidence continue to progress throughout the season.'

The Yellow Jackets feel the same way.

'We are just finally getting our swagger back,' freshman linebacker Anthony Barnes said.

Chris Turner, who took over for injured Jordan Steffy last week, is expected to start at quarterback for Maryland. Steffy saw limited practice time this week while recovering from a concussion.

SideBar: TECH AT MARYLAND

When: Today, noon

Where: College Park, Md.

TV/Radio: WUPA/790-AM