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Updated: Tuesday, December 31, 2002 8:01 AM EST
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Tennessee (8-4) vs. No. 18 Maryland (10-3) Peach
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Tennessee Volunteers
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MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Maryland Terrapins
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ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Last season, Ralph Friedgen resurrected the Maryland program, leading the Terrapins to the Atlantic Coast Conference title and their first 10-win season in 26 years.

A year later, No. 18 Maryland closes another successful season when it faces Tennessee in the Peach Bowl.

The Terrapins (10-3) have not won a bowl game since defeating Syracuse, 35-18, in the 1985 Cherry Bowl. Last year, Maryland was outclassed by Florida, 56-23, in the Orange Bowl. It was the first bowl appearance for the Terrapins since they tied Louisiana Tech, 34-34, in the 1990 Independence Bowl.

Maryland will be facing a Tennessee team that experienced a down year by its standards. The Volunteers (8-4) lost three times at home and need a win to avoid their first five-loss campaign under coach Phillip Fulmer.

Tennessee did end the regular season with a three-game winning streak and back-to-back shutouts, blanking Vanderbilt and Kentucky by identical 24-0 scores.

Junior quarterback Casey Clausen missed the Georgia and Mississippi State due to injury, ending his streak of 25 consecutive starts. But he returned for the Vanderbilt and Kentucky contests and has moved into third place on Tennessee's all-time passing list with 6,322 yards.

Maryland, which spent most of the year without running back Bruce Perry, last season's ACC Offensive Player of the Year, rebounded from a 1-2 start to win eight in a row at one point. The streak ended with a 48-13 loss to Virginia, but the Terrapins rebounded to defeat Wake Forest, 32-14, in their regular season finale.

The victory enabled Maryland to record consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in school history. It also made Friedgen (20-5) the winningest two-year coach in ACC history. He surpassed Ken Hatfield, who won 19 games at Clemson in 1990-91.

Perry rushed for only 300 yards and a touchdowns in five games. In his absence, Chris Downs emerged, rushing for 1,113 yards, the sixth-highest total in school history.

Scott Brien showed steady improvement as the year went along and passed for a career-high 275 yards and two TDs in the win over Wake Forest.

Anchoring the defense is rugged linebacker E.J. Henderson, who led the Terrapins in tackles for the second straight year 165 and captured the Bednarik and Butkus awards.

Tennessee is making its 43rd bowl appearance, second all-time behind Alabama's 51. The Volunteers are 23-19-1 and are tied with Penn State for third all-time in wins.

Maryland is 7-10-1 in bowl games and has split four postseason meetings with Tennessee. The Vols lead the all-time series, 5-2. The Terrapins are the Volunteers' most frequent bowl opponent.


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