NCAA Football

Military Bowl Preview: East Carolina vs. Maryland

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East Carolina vs. Maryland

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Miranda Lambert saw the sign a veteran was holding up at her concert, she immediately broke down in tears:

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Miranda Lambert saw the sign a veteran was holding up at her concert, she immediately broke down in tears:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 2:30 PM ET ESPN

Laying the scene

Despite being named ACC Coach of the Year and taking Maryland from two wins in 2009 to eight wins in 2010, Ralph Friedgen is out as the Maryland coach, but not before he coaches the Terps one final time in the their seventh bowl appearance in Friedgen's 10 seasons at the helm. In the Military Bowl, they'll face an East Carolina team that fell short of earning its third consecutive Conference USA title after dropping three of their final four conference matchups. The Pirates will play in a bowl game for the fifth consecutive year.

What East Carolina has to do to win

The Pirates defense is worst in the nation in terms of yards allowed per game, and rank 118th out of 120th in scoring defense. The Terrapins offense is nothing to write home about, but over the final five games of the season, of which East Carolina has lost four, the Pirates have allowed more than 40 points in each and even allowed 76 points to Navy in early November. Maryland averages 30.7 points per game, but the Pirates' last five opponents combined to score 88.8% more than their combined season averages. It doesn't take Vince Lombardi to figure out the key to East Carolina winning this, or any, game is playing defense with some competency no matter how prolific their offense.

What Maryland has to do to win 

The Terps came close to representing the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship Game, but dropped their second to last game of the season against Florida State. Their head coach will not be returning, but Friedgen's presence on the sidelines Wednesday afternoon may be motivation enough to come away with a win in his final game as head coach at his alma mater. One of the keys to giving the coach a win in his final game is keeping the East Carolina passing offense, led by quarterback Dominique Davis, at bay. Davis likes to target receivers Dwayne Harris and Lance Lewis, who have combined for more than 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. If the Terps hope to come away with the win, they must limit the opposition's passing offense, and take advantage of a defense that has struggled mightily this season to keep teams out of the end zone.

The call

Maryland. East Carolina has dropped four of its last five games and its defense could keep the Pirates from grabbing the bowl win. Despite one of the nation's top passing attacks (ranked seventh to be precise), the Pirates' defense will prove again to be this team's Achilles heel. - Danny Hobrock

Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.

Email Danny at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at DannyHobrock

Player(s) to Watch

Dwayne Harris and Lance Lewis, WRs, East Carolina- Moniz brings back memories of Colt Brennan. He might not have the same stats as Brennan, but Moniz has led an offense that is number one in total offense with 361.9 yards per game. Moniz should continue to produce, as he faces a Tulsa defense that is one of the worst in the nation against the pass. Hawaii should win big, mainly because of the arm of Bryant Moniz. - Jared Levine

Jared is a Journalism and Sports Administration major at the University of Miami providing introspective, insight, information and opinion on the world of College Football.

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