CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Bolstered by the return of star running back Bruce Perry, 19th-ranked Maryland seeks its eighth straight victory Saturday when it visits Clemson in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest.
Perry, the reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year, scored his first touchdown of the season with 2:47 remaining in the third quarter of last week's 24-21 victory over then-No. 13 North Carolina State.
Maryland (8-2, 4-1) continued its remarkable turnaround following a 1-2 start and remained in contention for a second straight ACC title. It remained one game behind Florida, which handed Maryland one of its two losses this year.
The Terrapins kept alive their winning streak last week by rallying from a pair of 14-point deficits to beat North Carolina State on Nick Novak's 27-yard field goal with 34 seconds remaining.
Maryland beat its highest-ranked opponent since toppling No. 8 Virginia on November 8, 1990, a span of 132 games.
Ralph Friedgen improved to 18-4, leaving him one win shy of Ken Hatfield's ACC record for victories by a second-year coach. Hatfield posted a 19-4-1 mark in his first two years as Clemson coach in 1990 and 1991.
Perry suffered a severe groin injury in preseason and missed the first seven games of the year. He returned briefly against Duke on October 26, but sat out against North Carolina on November 2 with a shoulder injury.
Without Perry, Charlie Downs emerged as the Terrapins' top rusher and needs 106 yards to reach the 1,000-yard plateau.
Freshman Charlie Whitehurst has led Clemson (6-4, 4-3) to a pair of victories since taking over at quarterback. Whitehusrt passed for four touchdowns and 274 yards in last week's 42-12 victory over North Carolina after throwing for 420 yards in his first start at Duke.
Whitehurst has completed 64-of-102 passes for 874 yards and nine touchdowns this year, already setting school freshman records for touchdowns, passing yards and completions.
However, he figures to get a tougher test this week against the hottest team in the ACC. Clemson is 0-3 against ranked teams this year, losing to Georgia, Florida State and North Carolina State.
Maryland snapped an eight-game losing streak to Clemson with a 37-20 victory last year. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 27-21-2.