- The Washington Times - Friday, September 2, 2005

Richard Taylor is used to civil war when it comes to his family and football.

Curtis Taylor, the father of the Maryland Terrapins cornerback, is a retired Army colonel. An uncle, David Brewer, is an admiral who runs a sealift command.

The colonel and the admiral will sit together on the Terrapins’ side today when Maryland and Navy meet in Baltimore for the first time in 40 years. It seems that, this weekend, any enemy of Navy is a friend of Maryland.

“The best part is bragging rights,” Curtis Taylor said. “Can you imagine that I can shut up a three-star admiral about hearing how good the Navy is? I can say, ‘Shut up, Maryland beat you.’ That’s worth more than money.”

Said Richard Taylor: “They’re getting into it a little bit. They get way intense for the Army-Navy game.”

If the game is a surrogate for a different football feud for the Taylors, it presents a dilemma for others with divided loyalties.

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and other state lawmakers who will attend the game are caught between working in Annapolis and representing the entire state. Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, a 1961 graduate of Maryland, will split time in the stands between the Terrapins and Midshipmen sections. Adm. Michael Mullen, the chief of naval operations and a Naval Academy graduate, also will attend.

Receiver Jo Jo Walker’s father and two uncles served in the Navy, but they’ll cheer from the Maryland side.

“[My dad] just wants me to play well and the team to win,” Walker said. “He’s a Terp. He’s a Terp. He’s a Terp.”

Angela Randolph, the mother of offensive tackle Dane Randolph, is a chief petty officer. She will sit with the Terps fans, even though she is a Navy fan.

“A lot of us at work are Maryland fans,” she said. “Of course, we love Navy. I may wear my Maryland jersey and a Navy hat. I might mix it up a little.”

Military connections have seeped into the Terps’ pregame pep talks.

Sam Hollenbach’s grandfather is a World War II Army veteran, and he let the Maryland quarterback know the importance of always beating Navy.

“I’ve been hearing it. I’ve definitely been hearing it,” Hollenbach said. “It’s maybe like us playing Virginia. Nobody on this team knows what that rivalry is like. It’s going to have a bowl game feel to it. It’s something I haven’t experienced. We’re always playing teams out of state.”

Maryland and Navy first played in 1905 but haven’t met in four decades. Terrapins linebacker Jerry Fishman made a vulgar gesture toward the Midshipmen during a game in 1964, and it caused so much ill will the series stopped after the teams played an already-scheduled game the next year.

It is a feud Terrapins players have heard about only from coaches and relatives who remember the long-past days when students from each school raided the other’s campus to deface statues or buildings.

One band of Marylanders was caught on the Naval Academy grounds on the eve of the 1964 game. Within a few months, one former Terps player said, the vandals were all drafted.

Terrapins fans also had a tradition of stealing Navy’s goat mascot. Rubbing the billy goat’s horns for luck by Terps players should it suddenly show up on their sideline isn’t unfathomable.

“I’m not worried about goat horns,” Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I’m worried about getting horned.”

The terrapin statues, whose noses are rubbed for luck by Maryland students and alumni before exams and big games, likely are too heavy to be stolen from the College Park campus.

Still, vandalism was a form of retaliation used by midshipmen in the past, and anything is possible when it comes to football feuds.

“I could imagine them trying to steal our turtle,” Walker said. “You never know in college football.”

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