- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Maryland Terrapins resurrect a classic look Saturday in a stadium with a new name for a game that comes with a special message about mental health. Here’s a look at this week’s “Terps Top Three.”

See you at SECU: Maryland’s football game Saturday versus Michigan State (3:30 p.m., FS1) will be the first in newly-christened SECU Stadium. The facility, originally opened in 1950, was previously known as Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. References to the former name have been removed from the scoreboards and elsewhere over the past two weeks, and fans will be greeted with new branding on the concourses and, in a new touch, on the turf between the 20-and-30 yard lines on each side of the field.

Capital One and Maryland ended their naming rights deal earlier this month, allowing SECU, the State Employees’ Credit Union of Maryland, to step in with a new 10-year, $11 million deal. The acronym make take some getting used to for Terrapins fans, with “see-cue” not being the easiest thing to roll off of the tongue.

Stick to the script? Along with a new stadium name comes the return of an old favorite: Maryland will again don its script ‘Terps’ helmets and uniforms against the Spartans. The Terrapins will look to win their third-straight game in the set, the last being the bowl-clinching regular-season finale at Rutgers in 2021.

The 1980s-invoking threads are popular among fans and players alike, including coach Mike Locksley, who’s on record that it’s his favorite style to wear. “The fact that we get to wear the script ‘Terps’ is something that I appreciate that we’re able to do a couple times a year.” Locksley said.

When asked jokingly if the normal ‘Maryland Pride’ uniforms could get lost in favor of the throwbacks, Locksley replied with a chuckle: “That goes outside of my wheelhouse.”

End the stigma: Saturday’s contest is also the second time Maryland is hosting an annual Mental Health Awareness game. The football program has partnered with former sports reporter and mental health advocate Rachel Joy Baribeau for the effort as part of her “I’m Changing the Narrative” initiative.

Baribeau’s personal battle with her mental health after the death of her mother struck a chord with Locksley, whose 25-year-old son, Meiko, was murdered in 2017 — a case that’s still unsolved. He’s always made it a priority to speak regularly with his team about their mental well-being.

“Mental Health Awareness is not just a one-week thing for our team, it’s an everyday thing,” Locksley said. “We always talk about, ‘If you don’t feel good, tell us,’ and we’ve put … a tremendous amount of resources into an understanding just how important the mental health of our student-athletes are.”

Both Maryland and Michigan State players will wear green ribbons on their helmets for the occasion, and the TerpsTalk hashtag on social media connects to resources available to help improve the mental well-being of everyone — Terrapins backers, Spartan supporters, and college football fans alike.

• George Gerbo can be reached at ggerbo@washingtontimes.com.

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