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Military Bowl capsule

Associated Press

Military Bowl preview capsule

Maryland (8-4) vs. East Carolina (6-6),

11:30 a.m. (ESPN)

Line: Maryland by 7.

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Maryland wants to send Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year Ralph Friedgen out a winner in his final game after 10 seasons leading his alma mater. His firing was announced last week, effective after the bowl game. East Carolina hopes to clinch its fifth consecutive winning season and is always looking to make a national statement against BCS teams, particularly those from the neighboring ACC.

KEY MATCHUP

Maryland WR Torrey Smith vs. East Carolina’s defense. Smith set a school record with 272 all-purpose yards vs. N.C. State in Maryland’s regular season finale, and ranks seventh in ACC history in career all-purpose yards. He’ll be going against the nation’s worst defense, which gave up 478.8 yards per game. The Pirates have allowed at least 45 points in five straight games, and their cornerbacks have only two interceptions this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Maryland: QB Danny O’Brien is the ACC rookie of the year. He threw for 417 yards against N.C. State, and his 21 touchdown passes make him just the second Terrapins QB to throw more than 20 touchdown in a season.

East Carolina: WR Dwayne Harris is nicknamed “The Playmaker” for good reason. He’s accounted for 3,841 yards of total offense, averaging 7.8 catches per game. He has four 200-yard all-purpose yard games this season

FACTS & FIGURES

Maryland has the second-biggest turnaround in the FBS this year, improving from 2-10 to 8-4. Only Miami of Ohio has a bigger increase in wins (7). … The Terrapins are outscoring opponents 152-70 in the second quarter. … Maryland’s ground attack hasn’t exactly been consistent: It has three games with 200-plus yards rushing and two games with a negative total. … Maryland hasn’t played a Conference USA opponent since beating UAB in 1996. … East Carolina went 1-2 against the ACC in the regular season, beating N.C. State and losing to North Carolina and Virginia Tech. … The average score of an East Carolina game this year: 43-38 (with the other team averaging 43). … Pirates QB Dominique Davis ended the regular season leading the nation in completions per game (29.8) and tied for first in TD passes with 36.