Maryland Preps for Humanitarian Bowl

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Not too long ago, Maryland entertained hopes of playing in the Orange Bowl as champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Terrapins had just defeated then-No. 17 North Carolina, a
comeback victory that fueled the possibility of spending the final
week of the year sitting pool side in Miami before playing in a
prominent BCS game.

Then came a 37-3 loss to Florida State and a 28-21 defeat at
Boston College.

Forget the suntan lotion and bathing suits. Instead, the Terps
(7-5) will be packing gloves, scarves and heavy coats for a trip to
chilly Idaho, where they will face Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl
on Dec. 30.

"It's definitely some kind of disappointment. But you have to
sleep in the bed you made, deal with the consequences," center
Edwin Williams said Tuesday. "At the same time, we're still going
to a bowl game."

Playing in Idaho, or anywhere for that matter, beats packing up
your equipment for good in November - especially for Williams and
the other 29 seniors on Maryland's football team.

"I'm just happy I'm not going to be sitting at home during
Christmas break watching other guys play," defensive lineman
Jeremy Navarre said. "You've got to take what you get. I'm happy
we're still practicing, to be honest with you. That's all I really
care about."

It will almost certainly be cold and windy in Boise, but that
doesn't mean the Terrapins intend to spend the days leading up to
the game holed up in their hotel rooms watching television and
calling home.

"It's not one of those places when you're a kid you go, 'I want
to go to Boise, Idaho!' But, at the same time, it's going to fun,"
Williams said. "We're going to be doing a lot of sledding and
tubing and skiing. I haven't done that since I was like 9 years
old. We're all going to have a good time, I can guarantee you

There's also the matter of playing Nevada (7-5), which is
averaging 37.5 points and scored at least 31 in each of its last
eight games. A victory would make this a successful season for the
Terrapins, who are seeking their fifth eight-win season in the last
eight years.

"Winning this game is very important, not only to our seniors
but to our football program," coach Ralph Friedgen said.
"Eight-and-five is a very commendable season, and winning a bowl
game is a springboard to next year. It carries you through the
whole winter."

When it came time for the Terrapins to decide whether to go to
Idaho for the game, they didn't hesitate.

"If they didn't want to go, we wouldn't have gone," Friedgen
said. "To a man, they all want to go. I think it's pretty special
for them; it's an accomplishment."

Williams' first two seasons at Maryland ended without a bowl
bid. Since then, he's played in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando,
Fla., the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco and now the Humanitarian

"The last two bowl games, to be honest, I forgot we even had a
game we were having so much fun," he said. "There's no such thing
as a bad bowl."

Instead of playing in the Orange Bowl, Williams will play on the
famous blue artificial turf at Bronco Stadium.

"I just really want to see this blue field," he said. "That's
probably one of the top things I want to do when we land."

Notes Maryland is preparing for the game without two coaches who
left this month. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh signed with
Kansas State and special teams coach Danny Pearman has gone to
Clemson. LBs coach Al Seamonson is serving as interim defensive
coordinator. ... This could be the last game at Maryland for junior
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who is considering entering the NFL draft.