Maryland Football Countdown: No. 62, Jack Scarbath


Nov 15, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; The Maryland Terrapins take the field prior to the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With just 30 days until the Maryland opens the season on Sept. 5, TerrapinStationMD continues our series based on past Terrapins with Jack Scarbath. We’ll continue to look at the most talented and/or popular player to wear the number and analyze their time in College Park. If you think of a player that had a big impact and is also associated with that number, leave a comment below.

In the history of Maryland football, the program has never had a Heisman Trophy winner.

During the 1952 season, quarterback Jack Scarbath came as close as any Terp ever has. The Baltimore native connected on 52.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,049 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Scarbath finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1952 with Oklahoma halfback Billy Vessels taking home the honor. Although he didn’t win college football’s most prestigious honor, Scarbath was named to the All-America First Team and was the MVP of the East-West Shrine Game. He was also the Southern Conference’s Player of the Year.

On top of all of those accomplishments, the Maryland signal caller played lacrosse for the school that season.

Take a look at the video below for a few clips of Scarbath against top-ranked Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.

Scarbath and the Terps capped off the 1952 campaign with a 28-13 win over top-ranked Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium. The Baltimore native completed six of his nine passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. He scored a one-yard rushing touchdown to build the Terp lead up to 21-0 in the first half.

Aside from the impressive 1952 season, Scarbath worked as a construction worker while in college and actually poured cement in the building of Byrd Stadium. In the 1950 home opener against Navy, Scarbath scored the first touchdown in Byrd Stadium history on a 21-yard run.

Scarbath was incredibly successful during his time at Maryland. He put together a 24-4-1 record for the Terps and ran coach Jim Tatum’s new split T offense.

The split T offense was a read-option offense of sports. It had three basics plays in a dive, a quarterback keeper, or a pitch. The dive is a simple handoff where the halfback carries the football straight up the middle. If the dive wasn’t the play call, the quarterback could perform basically a read-option and chose to keep it himself or pitch it off to another player.

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Scarbath ran this offense to perfection during his time in College Park.

Scarbath was selected with the third overall pick in the 1953 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He spent his first two NFL season with the Redskins and combined to throw for 1,660 yards to go along with 16 touchdowns and 25 touchdowns interceptions.

He played the 1955 season with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League, but did return to finish out his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers the following season.

While with the Steelers, Scarbath only completed 12-of-41 passes for 208 yards while throwing only two touchdowns and being intercepted five times.

Following his career, Scarbath was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.

Scarbath will go down as one of the most impressive quarterbacks in Maryland history and one of its unsung heroes. It may be a long time before we see another Terp even come close to being in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy.

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