|Athletic director||Kevin Anderson|
|Head coach||Randy Edsall|
|Home stadium||Byrd Stadium|
|Location||College Park, Maryland|
|Conference||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Postseason bowl record||11–11–2|
|Claimed national titles||1|
|Colors||Red and White|
|Fight song||Maryland Victory Song|
|Marching band||Mighty Sound of Maryland|
The Maryland Terrapins football team represents the University of Maryland, College Park in the sport of American football. The Terrapins compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Since 1950, the Terrapins have played their home games at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland. The team's official colors of red, white, black, and gold have been in use in some combination since the 1920s and are taken from the state flag, and the nickname of the "Terrapins" (often abbreviated as "Terps") was adopted in 1933 after a turtle species native to the state. Maryland shares storied rivalries with Virginia and West Virginia.
The program's achievements have included one NCAA-recognized national championships, nine ACC championships, two Southern Conference championships, eleven consensus All-Americans, several Hall of Fame inductees, and twenty-four bowl game appearances. Maryland possesses the third-most ACC championships with nine, which places them behind Clemson (13) and Florida State (12). Many former Terrapins players and coaches have gone on to careers in professional football including 15 first-round NFL Draft picks.
The first officially recognized football team was fielded in 1892, and excluding a brief hiatus in 1895, Maryland has competed in college football each season since. Harry C. "Curley" Byrd, a student-athlete at Maryland, became head football coach in 1911 and served in that role for two decades before he became the university president. The Terrapins had consistent on-field success between 1947 and 1955. Maryland then suffered a period of mediocrity, until 1972, when the program again rose to national prominence under coaches Jerry Claiborne and Bobby Ross. The football program underwent another period of lackluster performance beginning in 1986 and lasting until 2001, when Ralph Friedgen was hired as head coach and engineered a first-year turnaround that culminated in a conference championship. In the following years, the Terrapins made regular postseason appearances, but were unable to match the success of Friedgen's first season.
Early years (1892–1946)
In 1892, the school then known as the Maryland Agricultural College fielded its first officially sanctioned college football team. They went scoreless in all three of that season's games, but the following year, posted a perfect record of 6–0. For the first two decades of the program, the team primarily competed against local universities and high schools due to the prohibitive nature of long-distance travel at the time.
In 1911, Harry C. "Curley" Byrd became head coach and held that position for more than two decades until he was named the university president. In 1921, Maryland joined the Southern Conference where it remained for thirty years. Between 1935 and 1946, the school had several coaches that achieved fame elsewhere: Frank Dobson, a former assistant coach under John Heisman; Clark Shaughnessy, architect of Stanford's undefeated 1940 turnaround; and Paul "Bear" Bryant, who later became the long-time Alabama head coach. Bryant resigned after one season when a player he had suspended was reinstated by President Byrd.
Jim Tatum era (1947–1955)
Jim Tatum was hired in 1947, after a brief stint at Oklahoma where he had led the Sooners to a conference championship in his only season there. He was Maryland's sixth head coach in eight years, but Tatum stayed for nine seasons and became the school's most successful head coach in modern history. During his tenure, he led Maryland to two national championships (one retroactive), three conference championships, three perfect seasons, six top-20 final rankings, and five bowl game appearances. Seven of his players were named first-team All-Americans, including five consensus All-Americans. Under Tatum, Maryland finished every season with a winning record.
After the 1947 season, the Terrapins participated in their first bowl game, the 1948 Gator Bowl, in which they tied Georgia, 20–20. NCAA season-scoring leader Lu Gambino recorded all three Maryland touchdowns. In 1949, Maryland again played in the Gator Bowl, where they defeated 20th-ranked Missouri, 20–7. The Terrapins finished the season ranked 14th by the Associated Press. Maryland's current home field, Byrd Stadium, was constructed in 1950, and named in honor of former coach and contemporary Maryland president Curly Byrd. Maryland started the 1950 season ranked 15th and defeated Navy, 35–21, in the Byrd Stadium dedication game.
The Terrapins won the 1951 Southern Conference co-championship alongside the Virginia Military Institute. Their perfect season culminated with an upset over first-ranked Tennessee in the 1952 Sugar Bowl. At the time, however, the wire services released their final rankings before the bowl games, and Maryland finished third in the Associated Press Poll. Several selectors, including analyst Jeff Sagarin, have retroactively credited Maryland with the national championship. In 1953, Maryland and six other schools split from the Southern Conference to form the Atlantic Coast Conference. That year, Maryland shut-out two 11th-ranked teams: Mississippi, 38–0, and Alabama, 21–0, won the ACC co-championship alongside Duke, and were named the national champions as the only undefeated and untied team in the nation. The Terrapins were defeated by fourth-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. After the 1955 season, Tatum resigned to return to North Carolina, where he soon died of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
After Tatum (1956–1971)
The Terrapins entered 1956 ranked number-six, but after the departure of Tatum, they suffered their first losing season in a decade. It marked the beginning of a long undistinguished period of Maryland history, and between 1956 and 1971, they compiled a record of 50–100–1 and only three winning seasons. In 1967, they suffered their first winless season in 75 years. High points during this period included victories over 14th-ranked North Carolina in 1957, 11th-ranked Clemson in 1959, eighth-ranked Clemson in 1960, and seventh-ranked Syracuse in 1961. Maryland became the first college football program in the nation to put players' names on the back of their jerseys in 1961. In 1962, assistant coach Lee Corso convinced African-American wide receiver Darryl Hill to transfer from the Naval Academy. Hill broke the color barrier in football at four institutions: Gonzaga High School, the Naval Academy, Maryland, and the ACC. In 1965, back Bob Sullivan led the nation with 10 interceptions.
Jerry Claiborne era (1972–1981)
In 1972, Jerry Claiborne took over as head coach of the Terrapins, which had only nine wins in the past five years. In his first season, Maryland improved to 5–5–1, and the following year, they reached their first bowl game in almost two decades. The team steadily improved until his fifth season, 1976, when they finished the regular season with an 11–0 record, their first perfect mark since Tatum's 1955 squad. Boomer Esiason later described Claiborne's coaching style as "vanilla", and said his strategy was "run right, run left, run up the middle, punt, and play good defense." He went on to say, "But, there's no question he made me a tougher player . . . We'd do drills where the quarterback had to take on a linebacker. It was like he had a sign on our back, 'Hit us, we're stupid'. It made you a tougher player."
In 1974, Maryland had a preseason rank of 14th and later beat 17th-ranked NC State to win the ACC championship. The Terrapins were defeated by 20th-ranked Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl and finished the season ranked 13th. In 1975, Maryland again won the ACC and defeated 13th-ranked Florida in the Gator Bowl to finish 13th in the nation. That season, the Terrapins led the ACC in total offense with 375.2 yards per game. Maryland started 1976 ranked 12th, and quarterback Mark Manges led them to eleven consecutive wins to secure their third straight ACC championship. Maryland's loss to sixth-ranked Houston in the Cotton Bowl Classic, 30–21, ended any hopes for a national championship.
In 1978, Maryland beat 20th-ranked NC State and finished with a ranking of 20th. The game that pitted 11th-ranked Maryland against 12th-ranked Clemson has been described as one of the most exciting games of the era. The "big-play caravan" ultimately saw Clemson triumph, 28–24. From 1974 to 1978, Claiborne and the Terrapins secured five consecutive bowl game berths and three consecutive ACC championships. Maryland made it to a sixth bowl game in 1980. After the 1981 season, Claiborne left the program for his alma mater, Kentucky, and was replaced by Bobby Ross, an assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bobby Ross era (1982–1986)
In a surprising choice, former Maryland assistant coach and Citadel head coach Bobby Ross, who was not a big name at the time, was selected as head coach in 1982. In contrast to Claiborne's style, Ross implemented a high-powered offense. He replaced the I-veer triple option with an NFL-style offense that emphasized dropback passes, bootlegs, and play action passes. This change in tactics and strategy enabled starting quarterback Boomer Esiason the opportunity to excel to a degree not seen under Claiborne the season prior. Esiason said, "Ross has an uncanny knack of putting players in a position to not only succeed, but to overachieve . . . If he didn't show up at Maryland, I don't know what would have happened to me. I don't know if I would have turned into the player I was and played in the NFL." In the following years, several Maryland quarterbacks went on to careers in the National Football League (NFL), and the school was nicknamed "Quarterback U" as a result.
In Ross's inaugural season, Maryland defeated 10th-ranked North Carolina, and then edged Miami before their most important conference game of the season against the 1981 national champions, the Clemson Tigers. Between 1974 and 1988, either Clemson or Maryland won the ACC title all but three years. Clemson had lost to the 1980 national champions, seventh-ranked Georgia, 13–7, and tied Boston College, 17–17, after the opposing quarterback, Doug Flutie, led a comeback. Clemson was therefore unable to defend their NCAA championship, but either Clemson or Maryland, with perfect conference records, would secure the ACC title. Thus, decades before the official ACC Championship Game, 1982 saw a rare de facto title match. Clemson scored first, then pulled away 14–7 before half. In the second half, a favorable wind twice yielded Maryland excellent field position, Esiason threw for two rapid-fire touchdowns and a two-point conversion, and the defense held Clemson at bay. However, the Terrapins also turned the ball over five times in the second half and lost, 24–22. With the win, Clemson won the ACC and Maryland finished second. Immediately after the game, the NCAA announced its investigation into Clemson recruiting had found improprieties. As a result, the Tigers were denied a bowl game and television coverage in the following season. The ACC instituted further punishment, making Clemson ineligible for a conference title for the next two years. Maryland finished 1982 ranked 20th after losing to ninth-ranked Washington in the Aloha Bowl. In 1983, Maryland lost to third-ranked Auburn and 20th-ranked West Virginia, but beat 17th-ranked Pittsburgh and third-ranked North Carolina. Clemson and Maryland once more met with perfect ACC records, and Maryland again lost, this time blown out, 52–27. Despite the loss, Maryland was awarded the conference championship because of the sanctions against Clemson.
In 1984, Maryland defeated the defending national champions, sixth-ranked Miami, in what was then the biggest comeback in college football history and judged by some as the most exciting. At half time, Maryland trailed Miami, 31–0. Back-up quarterback Frank Reich replaced Stan Gelbaugh and proceeded to throw four touchdown passes, and capitalizing on Miami errors, the Terrapins won, 42–40. The recovery from the 31-point halftime deficit stood as the greatest college football comeback for the next 22 years, until the record was finally broken by Michigan State against Northwestern. Reich later repeated the feat in his professional career when he led the Buffalo Bills to overcome a 32-point deficit and set the NFL comeback record. That season, Maryland also defeated 17th-ranked West Virginia and 20th-ranked Clemson, and secured the ACC championship. In the postseason, they edged Tennessee, 28–27, in the Sun Bowl and finished 12th in the nation. Maryland entered the 1985 season with a number-one preseason rank, and set its all-time home attendance record in Byrd Stadium with an average of 49,385 over five games. However, they dropped to a ranking of 17th in Week 2, and then out of the polls in Week 4 after a shutout by Michigan. Despite the early setbacks, the Terrapins finished undefeated in six conference games to take the ACC championship for the third consecutive year. Maryland defeated Syracuse, 35-18, in the Cherry Bowl and earned a final ranking of 18th. In 1986, the Terrapins posted a mediocre 5–5–1 record.
After the season, Ross resigned as head coach. He expressed frustration over the university's failure to improve Byrd Stadium and its associated facilities. Ross had shown recruits stadium and facility renovation plans as an indication of the program's direction, and when they did not come to fruition, he felt that he had misled the players. Ross also stated that he was hurt by "innuendo, insinuation, and guilt by association" with respect to the cocaine-induced death of Maryland basketball star Len Bias. He said, "I feel the football team has represented the university well, both on and off the field." The athletics department investigation report had commended the propriety of the football program, but university chancellor John B. Slaughter did not offer his vocal support for Ross until a month later.
Dark years (1987–2000)
Maryland athletics in general were marred by the death of Len Bias, and the football team was no exception. After Ross resigned, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Krivak was promoted to head coach. This was the beginning of a lackluster period for Terrapins football. From 1987 to 2000, the Terrapins went 55–88 overall (.385) with only two winning seasons and one bowl appearance. A controversial loss to Virginia in the final game of 1988 cost the team a sixth win for bowl eligibility. In 1989, Maryland tied Joe Paterno's 13th-ranked Penn State for the only time in the series' existence. The following season, the Terrapins beat 25th-ranked West Virginia and upset 8th-ranked Virginia. Maryland received a bid to the Independence Bowl and tied Louisiana Tech in what would be their only postseason appearance during this period. Athletic director Andy Geiger rewarded Krivak with a five-year contract extension, but the 1991 season unraveled after a rash of injuries, and Maryland had its worst finish in two decades with a 2–9 mark. After public criticism from several players, Krivak felt he lost credibility as the head coach and resigned on December 6.
Geiger named Holy Cross head coach Mark Duffner as Krivak's replacement. Duffner had amassed a 60–5–1 record and two undefeated seasons in his six years at Holy Cross. At Maryland, he installed a run and shoot offense which shattered many school records. However, his defenses were notoriously weak, usually giving up points so quickly that even his prolific offense couldn't keep up. For example, in the 1993 game against Virginia Tech, the Terrapins lost by 27 points despite gaining 649 yards of total offense. During this time, quarterbacks Scott Milanovich and John Kaleo set numerous school records for passing under Duffner, most of which still stand. In 1993, Maryland earned the dubious honor of most yards allowed per game, a record which also stands: in eleven games, the Terrapins surrendered 6,083 yards—an average of 553.0 yards per game. Maryland also gave up 236 more points than they scored, the worst point differential in school history. After the season, Duffner reorganized his staff by firing three assistant coaches. The team showed moderate improvement the next two years, and in 1995 finished 6–5, which was the first winning record since 1990. However, Maryland backslid in 1996 with a 5–6 record and a struggling offense. Duffner was fired after the season, having accumulated a combined record of 20–35.
Ron Vanderlinden was hired as head coach for the 1997 season under a five-year contract. Vanderlinden had helped engineer turnarounds at Northwestern as defensive coordinator and at Colorado as a defensive assistant. The 1995 Northwestern team in particular had shocked observers when it recorded a 10–2 season and the Big Ten championship. In 1999, Maryland showed signs of significant improvement, and a winning season appeared certain when Maryland possessed a 5–2 record. The Terrapins, however, then suffered a three-game losing streak. In their finale against Virginia, the Terrapins needed a win to garner a likely invitation to either the Aloha Bowl or Oahu Bowl—a Maryland alumnus was the chief executive officer of both events. The Terrapins came from behind and held the lead, 30–27, with 5:18 left to play. They regained possession with 1:40 remaining, but an inexperienced quarterback unintentionally stopped the clock by going out of bounds. After the ensuing punt, Virginia mounted a touchdown drive to win the game and end Maryland's bowl hopes. Despite narrowly missing a winning season, Vanderlinden was granted a two-year contract extension. In 2000, Maryland again fell short of a winning season and bowl game. The Terrapins entered their season closer with a 5–5 record, and again fell, this time in a rout by 24th-ranked Georgia Tech. Vanderlinden was fired the following day.
Despite the failure to deliver a winning season, Vanderlinden did oversee substantive improvement in the program. In 1998, the Terrapins were one of the most improved teams in defense, scoring defense, passing defense, and rushing. In 1999, Maryland allowed a conference low of 11 sacks compared with 56 in 1997. In that same period, Maryland also improved from last to first in the conference in rushing, due in large part to Heisman Trophy candidate and school career rushing leader LaMont Jordan. During Vanderlinden's tenure, Maryland also recruited several key players who were instrumental in the team's later success.
Friedgen era (2001–2010)
Ralph Friedgen, a former Maryland player and assistant under Bobby Ross, was hired as Vanderlinden's replacement for the 2001 season. Friedgen had previously been denied an interview for the position twice by his alma mater. While offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, he had been described as an "offensive genius", and Friedgen later received similar plaudits while at Maryland. When he took over, Maryland had not won a bowl game in 16 years and had only one winning season since 1990.
In 2001, Maryland won its first four games and entered the AP Poll for the first time since September 1995. Maryland beat 15th-ranked Georgia Tech in overtime when placekicker Nick Novak, the ACC's future all-time scoring leader, equalized and then won the game with 46- and 26-yard field goals, thereby ensuring a winning season and bowl appearance. In Tallahassee, 18th-ranked Florida State broke a stalemate in the fourth quarter to hand Maryland its only defeat of the regular season, 52–31. Maryland closed the year with a win over NC State, which secured the ACC championship and made the Terrapins the first team other than Florida State to take the title outright since the Seminoles joined the conference in 1991. Sixth-ranked Maryland then faced fifth-ranked Florida in the Orange Bowl--their first-ever BCS appearance, and their first major bowl of any sort since the 1977 Cotton Bowl. The Terrapins lost, 56–23, and finished with a 10–2 record and ranked 10th in the nation.
In 2002, Maryland had a preseason rank of 20th, but their first three games included a shutout by 12th-ranked Notre Dame, 22–0, and a loss to 16th-ranked Florida State, 37–10. The Terrapins rallied to defeat 13th-ranked West Virginia and 17th-ranked NC State, while losing only to Virginia. That loss, however, prevented Maryland from earning a share of the ACC championship alongside Florida State. The Terrapins routed Tennessee in the Peach Bowl, 30–3, and finished with an 11–3 record and final ranking of 18th. Maryland began the 2003 season with losses to Northern Illinois and eighth-ranked Florida State. They later defeated 23rd-ranked West Virginia, but were edged by Georgia Tech. In the postseason, 24th-ranked Maryland delivered a second crushing defeat against 20th-ranked West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, 41–7, and finished the season ranked 17th. The New York Times computer poll ranked Maryland third in the nation, behind only split-national champions Louisiana State and Southern California. The 2004 season was Friedgen's first with a losing record. Maryland finished with a 5–6 mark that included an overtime loss to West Virginia, 19–16. The highlight of the season was an upset victory over fifth-ranked Florida State, which was Maryland's first against the Seminoles and their first win against a top-10 team since 1990. The Terrapins again ended the 2005 season with a 5–6 record. That season opened with a victory over Navy, which was the first meeting between the intrastate foes in 40 years.
In 2006, Maryland returned to a bowl game and finished with a 9–4 record. During the season, the Terrapins upset 19th-ranked Clemson, 13–12, and five of their games were won by four points or less. In the Champs Sports Bowl, Maryland beat Purdue, 24–7. In 2007, Maryland overcame extensive injuries to again secure a postseason appearance. During the season, unranked Maryland tallied two shocking upsets against 10th-ranked Rutgers, 34–24, and eighth-ranked Boston College, 42–35. They finished the season with a rout of NC State to attain bowl eligibility, 37–0, but lost to Oregon State in the Emerald Bowl, 21–14. According to the final Sagarin computer-generated rankings, Maryland had the second-hardest schedule in the ACC and the 27th-hardest schedule among Division I teams.
Numerous observers described Maryland's 2008 season as "wildly inconsistent". The Terrapins defeated four of their five ranked opponents—25th-ranked California, 19th-ranked Clemson, 19th-ranked Wake Forest, and 17th-ranked North Carolina—but also lost to heavy underdogs Middle Tennessee and Virginia. Ultimately, Maryland defeated Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl and finished the season with an 8–5 record. Before the 2009 season, many analysts projected the Terrapins to finish last or second-to-last in the Atlantic Division of the ACC, and expressed particular concern with the inexperienced offensive line. The prognostications proved accurate, and Maryland finished 2–10 for their first ten-loss season in program history. Maryland rebounded in 2010 to finish with a 9–4 record, including a win in the Military Bowl, and ranked 23rd in the AP Poll. The ACC named Friedgen Coach of the Year, while freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien became the first Terrapin ever named ACC Rookie of the Year. Citing lack of fan support, the athletic department bought out the final year of Friedgen's contract for $2 million. UMD Athletic Director Kevin Anderson became the first AD in NCAA history to fire a reigning conference coach of the year. Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall was hired as his replacement.
Edsall era (2011-present)
The 2011 season ultimately proved to be a disappointment. Sophomore starting quarterback Danny O'Brien was lost for the season after breaking a bone in his left arm while playing against Notre Dame on November 12, 2011. Despite a opening game win over Miami, Maryland would win only one more game (vs. FCS team Towson University) the rest of the year to finish with a disappointing 2-10 record.
During its first few decades, the football program had only one poorly suited athletic field on which to play and practice and had no dedicated facilities such as locker rooms. Former coach and contemporary university president Dr. Harry C. Byrd allocated funds for the construction of a stadium in 1915, and it was completed in 1923. The Board of Regents voted to name it Byrd Stadium in honor of its main advocate. The stadium's capacity was 5,000. During this time, it was common for Maryland to play its better-drawing games in larger stadiums in Washington, D.C. or Baltimore.
In 1950, that small field was replaced by the identically named but much larger Byrd Stadium, which was constructed at the cost of $1 million. The new stadium had an initial capacity of 34,680, which has since been upgraded to 51,055 through extensive additions. Shortly after its construction, the stadium hosted its dedication game against Navy, which Maryland won 35–21. That same year, the new field held its first and only bowl game, the Presidential Cup Bowl, which featured Texas A&M and Georgia. In 2006, the University of Maryland became the first school to sell naming rights to its field. The home field was officially branded "Chevy Chase Bank Field at Byrd Stadium" in a 25-year, $20 million contract. In 2008, Chevy Chase Bank was bought out by Capital One, and the stadium was renamed Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
When the school was known as the Maryland Agricultural College, from 1856 to 1916, the media called the athletics teams the "Farmers" and the "Aggies". As the University of Maryland, the teams became known as "The Old Liners" in reference to the state nickname. During the 1923 season, The New York Times referred to Maryland as the Orioles, after a bird species endemic to the region that was already the namesake for several baseball teams. In 1932, Curley Byrd suggested that the namesake become the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), a species of land-dwelling turtle common throughout the state, particularly the Chesapeake Bay area where Dr. Byrd spent his early life. The student newspaper had already been named The Diamondback since 1921, and the athletics teams were sometimes referred to as the "Terrapins" as early as 1928. Newspapers began referring to the team simply as the "Terps" to shorten headlines. The truncated name stuck and is now in official use by the school.
The mascot is a diamondback terrapin named Testudo, which means "turtle" in Latin. It is also the name of an ancient Roman military tactic, in which soldiers protected their infantry square from projectiles by completely enclosing it with their shields. Derivations of the word have also been used in scientific nomenclature related to the reptile, such as the order Testudine and the family Testudinidae. In 1933, the graduating class raised funds for a 300-pound bronze replica of a terrapin. It was initially placed in front of Ritchie Coliseum, which was then the home arena of the basketball team. In 1951, after being the subject of numerous pranks, the statue was relocated to Byrd Stadium, reinforced with 700 pounds of concrete, and anchored with steel rods. It was moved again in the 1960s, in front of McKeldin Library, and a second replica was placed at Byrd Stadium in 1992. In the 2000s, under coach Ralph Friedgen, it was a pregame tradition for the football players to walk 200 yards, through what is known as "Terp Alley", to the locker rooms, and touch the bronze Testudo.
Originally, the athletic teams had no official colors and often used gray or maroon and gray for their uniforms. Senior classes would sometimes select colors of their own choosing. In modern times, the uniforms have been based on some combination of the four colors of the Maryland flag: red, white, black, and gold. The dominant colors have occasionally changed back and forth with changes of the head coach. In 1904, Maryland adopted a state flag based on the heraldry of Lord Calvert: the Calvert family arms (black and gold) quartered with his mother's Crossland family arms (red and white). From the early 1920s until 1942, the black and gold were adopted as the official school colors.
In 1942, Clark Shaughnessy left Stanford to coach at Maryland. He brought with him an affinity for a red and white color scheme and changed the team's uniforms. Shaughnessy left after one season, and the school switched back to the more traditional black and gold. He returned in 1946 and again changed the colors to red and white. He was replaced with Jim Tatum the following season, but Shaughnessy's colors were retained. In 1961, Maryland wore gold jerseys with black numerals for the first time since 1945 for their season opener against Southern Methodist. In 1987, Joe Krivak introduced black uniforms for selected games. Ron Vanderlinden took over in 1997 and a new black and white uniform was adopted. Under Ralph Friedgen, Maryland returned to red and white in 2001, with black uniforms being reserved for select games. Maryland was one of the first schools to utilize the "blackout" concept, where fans uniformly wear the color to stand out in the stadium. It was introduced unofficially as the "Byrd Blackout" in 2005. For the 2011 season, Maryland wore new Under Armour uniforms that offered a "dizzying array" of combinations in the four school colors. In the season opener against Miami, the Terrapins unveiled a unique uniform based on the Maryland state flag that received nationwide media attention.
It is arguable whether the Terrapins have any traditional school rival in the sport of football. Media observers have occasionally suggested that Maryland is an odd team out in the ACC, as most other schools in the conference have more vehement opponents. Maryland's designated ACC rival is Virginia, but Virginia has more heated rivalries with Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Of Maryland's historical non-conference opponents, West Virginia has a rivalry with Pittsburgh and the Naval Academy shares with West Point one of the most storied college sports rivalries, the Army–Navy Game. However, Maryland does compete against several schools in regular contests that have been called rivalries. Additionally, Ralph Friedgen—who previously coached at Georgia Tech which competes with Georgia in Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate—has taken steps to reinvigorate dormant or dispassionate Maryland rivalries.
West Virginia has often been called Maryland's biggest rival, and the teams have met 46 times since their first game in 1919. In 2001, both programs hired new head coaches, with West Virginia being taken over by Rich Rodriguez. Due to their proximity, the schools regularly raid their opponent's recruiting areas. The long-running series was put on hiatus for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but resumed in 2010. Virginia and Maryland are currently designated official ACC cross-divisional rivals and the teams have a long-standing rivalry due to proximity and history. The programs also vie for recruits in the same region, and more recently, an additional factor has been the schools' academic competition. Maryland and Virginia have occasionally served as spoilers for one another by precluding a championship or bowl game appearance.
Maryland played the Naval Academy, which is also located in the state of Maryland, several times between the 1930s and 1960s. In 1964, an incident in which a Terrapins player flashed an obscene gesture prompted Navy officials to suspend the series for 40 years. They finally played again in 2005, and have scheduled more meetings in the future. As of 2010, the winner of the Crab Bowl Classic is awarded the Crab Bowl Trophy.
Penn State and Maryland formerly possessed one of the most lopsided series in college football. The teams met in briefly interrupted stretches from 1917 until 1993, and Penn State won 35 of 37 meetings. Maryland's sole win came in 1961. The record, however, belies what was usually a competitive match-up until the later years, and many games were decided by missed field goals, turnovers, or questionable officiating. Both schools still aggressively compete for recruits in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area, and when they did play, it held recruiting implications. Into the 1930s, games were regularly played against Johns Hopkins and Yale, which in addition to Virginia, were characterized at the time as Maryland's "ancient rivals".
- National championships: 1951 (retroactive), 1953
- Atlantic Coast Conference championships: 1953, 1955, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2001
- Southern Conference championships: 1937, 1951
- Undefeated regular seasons: 1893, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1976
- Undefeated conference seasons: 1937, 1943, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1984, 1985
- Bowl appearances: 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1990, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
Over the years, many Maryland players have received All-American honors. Eleven Terps have been named consensus (received a majority of votes) first-team All-Americans and one, E.J. Henderson, has received that honor twice. Additionally, some have been awarded prestigious awards, including the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Outland Trophy, and Lombardi Award. While no Terrapin has ever received the Heisman Trophy, which is bestowed upon college football's most outstanding player, several have received votes by the award's selection committee. Quarterbacks Jack Scarbath and Bernie Faloney finished second and fourth in the voting in 1952 and 1953, respectively. Additionally, Bob Pellegrini, Gary Collins, Randy White, and Boomer Esiason all finished in the top-ten of the voting for a Heisman. Six Maryland players and four coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Bear Bryant, Jerry Claiborne, Clark Shaughnessy, and Jim Tatum were inducted as coaches. The players included Dick Modzelewski, Bob Pellegrini, Jack Scarbath, and Bob Ward. Stan Jones and Randy White were also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- List of Maryland Terrapins bowl games
- List of Maryland Terrapins football people
- List of Maryland Terrapins in professional football
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