- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Maryland will renew its football rivalry with the U.S. Naval Academy after a four-decade hiatus on Sept.3, 2005 at Ravens Stadium in Baltimore.

Officials at both schools confirmed yesterday that the only Division I-A schools in Maryland would meet for the first time since the Midshipmen beat the Terrapins 19-7 on Nov.6, 1965 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"It's been about 40 years since we played Navy, so we're very excited about this," said Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, who made scheduling the Midshipmen a priority. "It represents about eight years of negotiations, and a lot of people were involved in making this come to pass."

The two schools agreed to a one-year deal, with a possibility of future games. Tickets will be split evenly by Maryland and Navy, and each will receive $1.2million if the game sells out as expected. The deal reflects a change of attitude in Annapolis. The Academy had resisted scheduling the Terrapins following several ugly on-field incidents decades ago.

The most famous came in 1964 when Maryland's Jerry Fishman celebrated a sack of Navy quarterback Roger Staubach in the Terps' 27-22 win at Byrd Stadium. Fishman made an obscene hand gesture toward the Brigade of Midshipmen. That was among the incidents that prompted Navy brass to discontinue the series.

"This game, which will be an event for the state of Maryland, is a wonderful way to kick off the 2005 football season," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuck said in a statement. "It will be a 'Kickoff Classic' type of an event for both schools with activities surrounding the game. We anticipate great interest in the game and fully expect it to sell out."

Yow set the wheels in motion last fall by writing a letter to Gladchuck, who had just accepted the Navy job, and hadn't yet moved from Houston to Annapolis. He responded positively and negotiations soon began in earnest. Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell and several state officials also helped forge the deal.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen attended the 1964 game as a senior in high school, and was at the game in 1965 when he was a member of the Terps' freshmen team. He believes the meeting will benefit both programs, and is surprised it has taken so long to get the two schools back on the gridiron.

"I really am," Friedgen said. "Because I remember how competitive it was back then, by experiencing it. I can tell you a lot of stories. But I won't, especially when those Midshipmen used to come over to campus and steal all our women."

Navy leads the series 14-5. Friedgen expects the Midshipmen to be more competitive in 2005 than they have been in recent years. Paul Johnson took over as Navy coach this season after leading Georgia Southern to Division I-AA national championships in 1999 and 2000.

"I just think it is good for the state of Maryland," said Friedgen, who is friendly with Johnson from his time at Georgia Tech. "I am really looking for rivalries for our program. West Virginia is a rivalry. Virginia will be a rival. [But] In-state rivalries really take on a new meaning."


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