Maryland’s home finale carries plenty of meaning to the team’s veterans.
The Terrapins must win out to be eligible for a bowl game. It’s the last time more than a dozen players will step foot in Byrd Stadium on a game day in uniform.
And it’s also Virginia.
“Saturday’s important,” wideout Ronnie Tyler said. “Hopefully it doesn’t get too emotional for me. There’s no better game going out than against UVa. I remember coach Friedgen reminded us of how much we should hate them. That’s still in the head of the seniors. We still joke about it.”
Indeed, the Fridge was not fond of the school in Charlottesville. Not one bit. He loved getting the best of former Virginia coach Al Groh, and was, um, forceful in making sure his players knew he harbored no love for Thomas Jefferson‘s university.
“Not at all,” Tyler said with a laugh. “You have no clue.”
It’s also a perfect game for a Virginia native who has not played in more than a year to return. Offensive lineman Justin Gilbert, who is expected to play at guard on Saturday, acknowledged it was a good time to return.
“Everybody always says back home if you’re from Virginia, you hate Virginia unless you went to Virginia,” said Gilbert, who grew up in the Richmond area. “Definitely, Tech’s the big in-state school. Especially in my town, everybody hates UVa. I’ve never really liked UVa, and especially being here with the rivalry … you could put me up there with a strong dislike.”
—- Patrick Stevens