At the beginning of the season I never imagined that today’s in NC State Maryland football game would be played with this little attention, emotion and excitement. It is a sad state of affairs for NC State, Maryland and the Atlantic Coast Conference that the Wolfpack will say goodbye to our old nemesis, the Maryland Terrapins today in Carter-Finley Stadium with such little fanfare. Over the last 15 years Maryland football has been to NC State football what NC State basketball had been to Maryland basketball in the 1970s – a thorn in the side. I’ve read a lot of articles bidding adieu to Maryland, but none were more currently relevant than Joe Giglio’s article linked here:
One last trip into the heart of ACC country, one last ACC football game, one last go round with N.C. State.
It’s a fitting ACC finale for the Terrapins, original conference members who are leaving after 60 years for the Big Ten in June. Fitting that the end is against the Wolfpack, their spiritual and color-coordinated conference kin.
If nothing else, the ACC’s “red” schools were united in their opposition of the ACC’s “blue” schools.
The two schools will always be linked by the Greatest College Basketball Game ever played (please stop embarrassing yourselves, Duke-Kentucky fans), but the football series has been very good, too. You can argue since 2000, there hasn’t been a more compelling series in the ACC.
Maryland also gave the ACC the biggest comeback in NCAA history (since broken), a 31-point comeback in a 42-40 win over Miami in 1984. Then was on the losing end of the biggest comeback in a game between two ACC teams 2011, a 56-41 Wolfpack win, after the Terps led 27-0.
The games between the Terps and Pack in 2001, ’03, ’10 and ’11 were all-timers. It would be fun if N.C. State scheduled the Terps, instead of South Alabama, Central Michigan or Georgia Southern, but that won’t happen any time soon, if ever.
You really can’t blame N.C. State for avoiding Maryland, which former coach Tom O’Brien labeled the Wolfpack’s version of the “Bermuda Triangle.”
It was Maryland that kept Russell Wilson and the Wolfpack out of the ACC title game in 2010. It was Maryland that swept Philip Rivers all four of his years at State, including his Senior Day ceremony when his jersey was retired.
No, we won’t see Maryland on a football field in these parts for a while. It’s too bad. No one else will say it, certainly not anyone from Greensboro, but Maryland will be missed. A hale and hearty adieu to you, Terps. Saturdays in the ACC won’t be the same, and neither will your trips to Iowa City or Evanston.
Maryland will leave ACC having won nine conference titles (1953, 1955, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2001) and 344 games. As Giglio shared, “Since the ACC was formed in 1953, N.C. State holds a 29-28-1 advantage in the series, only Duke-Virginia (28-28) has been closer.” NC State has won the last two vs the Terps and currently leads the overall series that started in 1909 by the slimmest margin of 33-32-4. Both programs have 11 conference football championships. You can click here for more direct comparisons of the two programs that will show Maryland holding a slight advantage driven primarily from their success in the 1950s (1953 National Champions) and the late 1970s/1980s.
A WILD SERIES: The Terrapins’ exit brings to an end one of the league’s most unpredictable series. The Wolfpack lead it 33-32-4, and 11 of the last 13 matchups have been decided by 10 or fewer points. Among the recent highlights: Maryland’s winning field goal hitting the upright last year, and N.C. State reeled off 42 straight points in the final 25 minutes to turn a 41-14 deficit into a 56-41 win in 2011.
In addition to the Wolfpack’s attempt to maintain grasp of an all-time winning record in the series for the Terrapins, State is also looking to avoid our first winless season in the ACC since 1959. State is currently 3-8 overall. Additionally, State will host two high school recruits this weekend, including DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) offensive tackle Brock Ruble. Ruble, a 3-star, 6 foot 8 inch, 320 pound lineman is choosing between State and Maryland (of course). He would be a fantastic addition to the Wolfpack’s well documented needs on the offensive line. Ruble has also been offered by Florida State, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia Tech and at least a dozen other schools.
Joining Ruble in Raleigh this weekend is Jamie Byrd, a JUCO defensive back who played high school football in Florida and originally committed to TCU out of high school. I don’t know if State has offered Byrd yet, but we appear to be battling Arizona where Byrd visited last weekend.
As a parting shot, may I remind you that it was SIX years ago that a first year NC State head coach wrapped up his first season in a home game against Maryland on Thanksgiving weekend. On that day, Tom O’Brien’s Wolfpack may have laid the biggest egg of his career by losing to the Terrapins 37-0. But, that embarrassment was overshadowed by this moment that still lives today: