GREENSBORO, Ga. —- Maryland center Edwin Williams took a trip down memory lane yesterday when the subject of playing Virginia Tech in Blacksburg came up.
His reaction to his last visit to Lane Stadium —- a 55-6 pulverization on a Thursday night in 2004 that remains the worst loss the Terrapins have absorbed under Ralph Friedgen by two full touchdowns —- caused him to do something that probably isn’t permitted to be written in this space.
“It was very scary,” Williams said yesterday. “Their fans, their crowd. We got demolished. We had people falling down with concussions. It was a wild game.”
Williams was a true freshman at the time, but was still on the sideline as the Hokies doomed Maryland to a losing season.
He’ll go back to Blacksburg for a November game yet again this fall, but now that he’s older, he doen’t expect to be nearly as unnerved.
But all of this begged an obvious question: Which was more frightening, Blacksburg or Morgantown?
“Ooh. I don’t know. That’s tough,” Williams said. “I’ve been to West Virginia a lot more recently, and I was a little bit older. Probably West Virginia. I don’t know. It’s very country in West Virginia. Same with Virginia Tech. It’s in the middle of nowhere.”
(Williams took this opportunity to point out Maryland had to bus all the way to West Virginia. The Terps did have the luxury of flying into Roanoke before a 45-minute bus ride to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech).
Of course, there’s varying degrees of scary. The ‘04 Virginia Tech team controlled the ACC for much of its first season in the league and had a Thursday night aura to uphold. West Virginia, while talented, also had the fan base to live up to the reputation of a place that could spawn wemustignitethiscouch.com.
“Virginia Tech was just good fans, good team, good atmosphere,” Williams said. “West Virginia, it was just scary people. I didn’t think we’d come out alive.”
But the Terps did in 2006, and wound up going 9-4 and winning the Champs Sports Bowl. In that case, it turned out the only thing they had to fear was fear itself. Well, that and Steve Slaton.
If Maryland could make it out of Morgantown intact, they can probably do the same later this season. And something tells me Williams won’t be caught off guard this time around.
—- Patrick Stevens