COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Off to their best start in 23 years, the Maryland Terrapins find themselves in a rather unaccustomed spot - alone atop the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Shaun Hill threw for two touchdown passes and Bruce Perry ran for 143 yards and a score as No. 25 Maryland remained unbeaten by defeating Virginia 41-21 Saturday.
The Terrapins let a 24-7 halftime lead dwindle to three points, then pulled away in the fourth quarter to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Cavaliers and emerge as the lone undefeated team in the ACC.
Maryland, which hasn't been to a bowl game since 1990 and last won the league title in 1985, has turned the ACC standings upside down under the guidance of first-year coach Ralph Friedgen.
"I think we won a very, very big game in Maryland football history," said Friedgen, the first football coach to begin his initial season at the school with five straight wins.
That's not all. Maryland (5-0, 3-0) has already matched its victory total of last season, and should move up in the polls after being ranked this week for the first time since 1995.
Billy McMullen had 11 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown for Virginia (3-2, 2-1). Backup quarterback Matt Schaub was 20-for-33 for 271 yards and a touchdown, but he threw a costly fourth-quarter interception.
North Carolina 24, East Carolina 21
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Darian Durant threw two touchdown passes and Derrick Johnson made a key fourth-quarter play on special teams as North Carolina beat East Carolina 24-21 Saturday.
The Tar Heels started 0-3 with losses at Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas, but have won three straight, beating the Pirates (2-3) in their first meeting in 20 years.
Durant threw TD passes of 29 and 21 yards to set the North Carolina single-season freshman record for scoring passes with eight. His last one to Sam Aiken with 12:04 left gave the Tar Heels an eight-point lead.
Art Brown then took the ensuing kickoff and was headed into the end zone for what was going to be an 81-yard kickoff return for East Carolina. But Johnson poked the ball out from behind before Brown could cross the goal line and it rolled out of the end zone and the Pirates were deflated.
East Carolina also had two touchdown passes called back because of holding penalties, one a 77-yarder to Richard Alston with 2:38 left in the third quarter that would have given the Pirates a 17-14 lead.
Jeff Reed's career-best 49-yard field goal with 2:48 left helped seal it for the Tar Heels.