It is never too early to begin looking at the season ahead, and the release of the Terrapins’ 2015 football schedule presented the perfect opportunity to do so. At first glance there are some intriguing matchups, including a rematch with newly-crowned national champion Ohio State in Columbus. Here are a few games to mark on your 2015 calendar:
September 26 @ West Virginia
The Border Battle continues in 2015, as the Terps will travel to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers. Maryland has faced West Virginia a total of 13 times over the past 15 college football seasons, and the rivalry has not proved particularly kind to the Terrapins. Maryland has defeated WVU on just four occasions, and three of those wins came during the 2001, 2002, and 2003 seasons. The Mountaineers defeated the Terps in seven straight matchups from 2004 to 2012, until the Terps finally prevailed again in 2013 with a resounding 37-0 shutout at a rainy contest played in M&T Bank Stadium. Last season, quarterback Clint Trickett led the Mountaineers to a 40-37 win over Maryland, throwing for 511 yards and four touchdowns. The loss was a heartbreaking one for the Terps, as they rallied after falling behind 28-6 to cut the West Virginia lead to 28-27. Maryland tied the game at 37 before Trickett led the Mountaineers down the field ending in a controversial game-winning field goal. Trickett will not be under center for WVU next season, as he graduated and in fact opted to retire from football altogether due to enduring multiple concussions over a relatively short time period in his short playing career. The future look of the Terps’ offense is still very much a mystery at this point as well, as starting quarterback C.J. Brown has used up his collegiate eligibility after six years and star wideout Stefon Diggs declared early for the 2015 NFL Draft. While the exact makeup of either team is still greatly unknown, the Terps seem to have righted the ship over the last two years as far as this rivalry goes and this should be another great game.
October 3 vs. Michigan
Michigan has uncharacteristically underperformed over the last few seasons, and the Terps added to their 2014 woes by defeating the Wolverines in Ann Arbor 23-16. Michigan finished last season with a 5-7 record, fired head coach Brady Hoke, and hired former Stanford and San Francisco 49er head coach Jim Harbaugh to take his place. Harbaugh was a quarterback for the Wolverines from 1983-86, and even has a few ties to the state of Maryland as he quarterbacked the Baltimore Ravens in 1998 and brother John is the current coach of the team. While it will likely take a few years for Harbaugh to get Michigan back on the winning track (if it all), this historic college football program making the trip to College Park is a must see. If anything, watching Jim Harbaugh jumping up and down along the sidelines should provide a sufficient amount of entertainment.
October 24 vs. Penn State
Maryland’s victory over Penn State in 2014 was arguably the biggest win of the season, as the Terps traveled to Happy Valley and Brad Craddock kicked the Terps to a 20-19 victory over the Nittany Lions. If not the best win, it was certainly the most memorable game of last season. Aside from the last-minute game-winning kick, the game itself was preceded by the infamous handshake snub at midfield by the Terrapins’ game captains. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on regarding the pregame incident, along with the way the game itself played out, it helped give birth to a new college football and Big Ten rivalry. Hopefully, the rivalry will only continue to grow (for the right reasons) between these two universities, and the 2015 matchup between Maryland and Penn State could be indicative of where the rivalry is headed. The game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, so the stadium should be rockin’ with Terps fans and Penn State fans alike. If you’re going to attend just one Terps football game in 2015, I strongly suggest it’s this one.
November 28 @ Rutgers
The most heartbreaking loss of the 2014 season came at the hands of Rutgers and offensive coordinator/former Terp head coach Ralph Friedgen in the regular season finale. After building a 25-point lead just before halftime, the Rutgers offense scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions. While the offense gained ground on the scoreboard, the Rutgers defense completed the unforgettable comeback by holding Maryland to just one field goal in the entire second half and stuffing running back Brandon Ross on a 4th and 1 with just under three minutes remaining in the game. The loss dropped the Terps to 7-5 and prevented them from receiving an invitation to a more prestigious bowl. The exact circumstances surrounding Friedgen’s departure is more than cloudy, but it is safe to say his firing was less than amicable. Understandably so, after Friedgen won 75 games at Maryland over ten years and was assured by AD Kevin Anderson that his job was secure. The 2015 rematch after Ralph’s revenge to end the regular season could present similar postseason implications and ramifications to the 2014 collapse.