Maryland Terrapins: Maryland/Penn State Rivalry Potential


When you talk about great rivalries in college football, the obvious ones come to mind: Texas/Oklahoma, Ohio State/Michigan, Michigan/Michigan State or even the  rivalries Notre Dame has with USC and formerly with Michigan. As a new Big Ten team, the Maryland Terrapins could build their own rivalry with the Penn State Nittany Lions. Maryland has not won against Penn State since 1961, and they beat the Nittany Lions today 20-19 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania.

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It was already a chippy game to begin with even before the game had started. Fights broke out and an awkward but intense incident took place when the Terps captains refused to shake hands with Penn State’s captains during the coin toss. This has a classic rivalry symptom written all over it. Although that encounter was not planned or endorsed by the coaching staff, it shows what this rivalry has the potential to be: two teams that meet every year who don’t like each other.

The way the game played out, it was a very defensive game from the start, and physical to say the least. It reminds me of the Baltimore Ravens/Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry in which both teams hate each other and defenses are dominant in the contest.

Looking at the game, rush defense was key for both teams and the opposing offenses were held in check; the Terps only ran for 31 yards and Penn State only racked up 42. That’s where the comparison could be made, as the Steelers rarely run for big yardage on the Ravens and vice versa.

Maybe this is the start of a fierce, heated rivalry between a team in Penn State that has been around the block a few times in the Big Ten Conference and a team in the Maryland Terrapins that is the new kid looking to make his mark. Either way, this rivalry could be a great one over time just like the storied ones I mentioned at the top of the article. As Head Coach Randy Edsall said, “Let the rivalry begin!”