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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Must Stop Jordan To Pay Back Terrapins

Records: Maryland is 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the ACC. UNC is 4-5, 1-5.

Series: UNC leads 35-27-1.

Personnel update: Maryland - No injuries reported. UNC - CB Anthony Anderson (shoulder), RB Rufus Brown (shoulder), P John Lafferty (mononucleosis) and LB Merceda Perry (fractured right ankle) are out.

The key matchup: For the Tar Heels to keep their bowl hopes alive, they will need to prevent Maryland running back LaMont Jordan from repeating the performance he had in the Terrapins' 45-7 win in College Park last season.

Jordan ran 26 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns in that game, and the Terps amassed 268 yards on the ground.

Although Jordan's numbers have dropped this season - he averages 88.2 yards per game - he remains the Terps' main offensive threat. Jordan has rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns in Maryland's last two games - both wins.

"He's big and strong, and I think he gets better as the game goes along," UNC coach Carl Torbush said. "He can take a lot of licks. He reminds you a lot of ways of (former UNC tailback) Natrone Means.

"You don't think he looks real fast, but as the game goes along he seems to get faster and faster. There's no doubt that for us to win the ballgame, we've got to stop LaMont Jordan."

To keep Jordan in check, the Tar Heels will have to hit him at the line before he can break free into the secondary.

UNC, which ranks 15th in the nation in rush defense, has been yielding averages of 2.7 yards per carry and 98.4 yards on the ground per game. Jordan's biggest output of the season was a 158-yard performance two weeks ago against Duke.

"He's a force to be reckoned with," UNC defensive tackle Ryan Sims said. "But we've been pretty good this year about coming in a big game, where we know they've got to run, to make them one-dimensional - kind of like Clemson."

Final analysis/prediction: Of course, when UNC focused on stopping the run against Clemson three weeks ago, it got burned badly. Although the Tar Heels limited the Tigers' rushing attack to 112 yards on 45 carries, they paid dearly for leaving their corners isolated in the secondary.

The Tar Heels would run that risk against Maryland again on Saturday - if only the Terps could throw the ball.

Maryland has the third-worst passing attack in the ACC. Starting QB Calvin McCall sprained his ankle late in the first half of last week's 35-28 double-overtime win against N.C. State, and his status for Saturday's game is still unknown.

Backup Shaun Hill, a junior-college transfer, finished 15-of-24 for 137 yards and two touchdowns as Maryland erased a 15-point deficit.

But he and the rest of the Terrapins will run into a UNC team that enters Saturday's game with a load of confidence and renewed bowl hopes.

"Last year was embarrassing. We embarrassed ourselves up there," Sims said. "And, of course, we owe them one."

The Tar Heels keep Jordan from taking over the game and move a step closer to a bowl.

UNC 27, Maryland 17

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