This is the third installment of a series we are doing on the Maryland football team’s 2016 opponents. Since the Terrapins have never faced Central Florida and Howard, we skipped those two schools.
Now we’re going to take a look back at the history between Maryland and one of their newest rivals in Penn State.
Maryland and Penn State have faced each other quite a bit despite not being in the same conference until 2014. The teams have met 39 times spanning from 1917 to last October.
Before the 2014 meeting, the teams hadn’t met since Oct. 2, 1993.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key games and individual performances from the series:
Most interesting game: Maybe interesting isn’t the word; it’s more like bizarre. When Maryland joined the Big Ten, it meant rekindling an old rivalry with Penn State. The two teams hadn’t done battle in nearly two decades prior to their meeting on Nov. 1, 2014. Both teams ended up going to bowl games, so the fact that this was a brutal game surprised a lot of people.
Both C.J. Brown and Christian Hackenberg threw at least 20 incompletions apiece. Hackenberg only completed 18-of-41 passes for 177 yards and was also sacked three times by the Maryland defense. The leading rusher in the game was Akeel Lynch, who registered 51 yards on 22 carries. Stefon Diggs had a game-high six receptions but only for 53 yards.
Obviously, this is always going to be the game where Maryland’s captains refused to shake hands with their counterparts during the coin toss. However, it should be remembered for the heroics of kicker Brad Craddock in the final minute.
With Maryland trailing 19-17 with under a minute to go, Craddock, who hadn’t missed all season, connected on a 43-yard field goal that probably would’ve been good from 63 yards. Craddock gave the Terps a 20-19 win and it was a great start to a rivalry that had been forgotten over the last two decades.
Best individual performance: On Oct. 11, 1980, Maryland received one of the more impressive ground performances in their history. Running back Charlie Wysocki ran for 135 yards against Penn State in a 24-10 loss. Wysocki was one of the most productive players of the Jerry Claiborne era at Maryland.
Wysocki ended up being one of the most accomplished backs in Maryland history. He finished second in program history with 3,317 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns. His 1980 campaign was by far his best as he racked up 1,359 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns for a Maryland team that finished with an 8-4 record. For any Terp fans that haven’t seen tape of Wysocki, this was a guy that had a great burst and made the right cuts more often than not. Check out the above video for clarification.
Largest margin of victory: There are been a wide array of different results when it comes to Maryland and Penn State. Obviously, with the Terrapins only winning two games all-time, it’s going to be hard to find a result in which Maryland put up a ton of points. On Oct. 2, 1993, Penn State handed Maryland a 70-7 loss at Byrd Stadium in a game that the Terps were never really in.
The Nittany Lions gashed the Terps for 538 yards on the ground and Ki-Jana Carter rushed for a 63-yard touchdown on Penn State’s first series. Penn State led 46-7 at halftime and never looked back.
Forecast for the 2016 meeting: Over the past two seasons, Penn State has been the more successful team. However, this is the type of game where records are thrown out the window. During their meetings the last two seasons, the games have been decided by a single point each time with Maryland winning the 2014 meeting 20-19 and Penn State winning last season 31-30.
Maryland is definitely going to be an improved team under D.J. Durkin this fall. Perry Hills will be under center once again and could be primed for success in new offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s high octane offense. Penn State will have a new signal caller in Trace McSorley, so it could be a learning experience for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State also lost a significant amount of talent on defense. Maryland definitely will give Penn State all they can handle in Happy Valley this October. If Hills runs the offense at a precise rate and the offensive line gels, the Terps definitely could beat their rivals for the second time in three years.