Not much attention was paid to Maryland as it entered its Labor Day showdown against Miami for anything more than an unmistakable fashion sense that earned the Terrapins far more social media hype than preseason plaudits.
The Hurricanes had an NCAA investigation to contend with and suspensions resulting from it. Miami possessed a national profile, even if it is almost a decade removed from hoisting its last national championship trophy.
Heck, Miami even matched Maryland on its most obvious story line: a new boss with a reputation as a meticulous coach who preaches the power of discipline.
Maryland had … new uniforms. Oh, and a reputation for flopping more often than not in recent years in high-profile games, even if it was coming off a 9-4 season.
A 32-24 victory — hardly pristine, but of merit nonetheless — later, maybe the Terps will generate some buzz for their on-field exploits rather than their apparel.
“Everyone keeps putting Maryland as underdogs,” said junior kicker Nick Ferrara, whose 32-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining Monday gave the Terps the lead for good. “Everyone keeps saying that we’re not a top-25 team, that we’re always going to lose, that we’re not favored. We set the tone.”
If nothing else, Maryland surely will lead the nation in coats of arms displayed this season after changing into uniforms before Monday’s game featuring elements of the state flag on the helmet, the shoulders of the jerseys and the shoes.
But while aghast gawkers were left gaping and sniping at a 21st-century application of the Calvert and Crossland family emblems, there’s a chance Maryland walked away with respect for something of far greater substance.
It was a victory for the Terps, who snagged a conference win before a national television audience. And it was a victory for coach Randy Edsall, who was pleased his message of teamwork produced a victory in his first game since arriving from Connecticut in January.
“It’s Coach Edsall’s first game, Maryland’s first game as a new team,” linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield said. “It’s the first time we had a new defensive coordinator, new offensive coordinator, so everybody’s watching to see what we’re going to do. It definitely was a statement game in a way.”
The Terps have another on the immediate horizon. No. 19 West Virginia (1-0) visits Byrd Stadium on Sept. 17, and by then Maryland will need to fix several facets that were far from perfect against Miami.
The offense managed only one touchdown in seven red zone trips. The defense permitted the Hurricanes to construct four drives of at least 60 yards. And Maryland’s special teams coverage allowed Miami to average a starting field position of its 33 off kickoffs.
“We still feel like we have a lot to prove,” wide receiver Kevin Dorsey said.
There also is the reality nine Miami players were suspended in coach Al Golden’s first game at the former national power as part of an NCAA investigation into the program.View Entire Story
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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