Maryland is so the new Oregon. Thanks to UO grad and Nike CEO, Phil Knight, The Ducks have recently been known as the team with a variety of uniform combinations containing loud neon colors. Well, Maryland grad and UnderArmour CEO, Kevin Plank, must have thought that two can play at this game. Prior to the home opener against Miami, the Terrapin players were donning tortoise shell helmets with matching uniforms. Nobody, not even the players, knew what would happen next. After the team went into the locker room after pregame warmups, the Terps reentered Byrd Stadium with wild and wacky uniforms splattering the Maryland state flag’s emblem all over in various ways. Even though these uniforms received much nationwide criticism, it charged up the packed house in College Park.
Not only did the team pay tribute to the state colors, but the fans did as well by sectioning off in four parts each representing a color of the flag – yellow, black, white, and red. This game already had so much hype with it being a Monday night contest and with both coaches in their debuts. Maryland coach Randy Edsall calls this his dream job and with the drastic uniform changes, he is clearly putting his stamp on the program.
New Miami coach, Al Golden has experienced a less colorful start to his career with the Canes. Due to violations that occurred prior to his arrival, he was forced to sit out 8 players (many were starters) for this opener. This provided the Terrapins with a dash more confidence and it was clear that they were not about to hide in their shells as highly lauded quarterback Danny O’Brien marched the Terps on their opening drive for a touchdown. The rain coming down didn’t appear to bother either team as the game toggled back and forth in the first half concluding with a 30 yard fumble return TD by Joe Vellano that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The game continued to be in doubt late as Miami would take a 24-23 lead with a field goal at 4 minutes remaining. O’Brien regrouped the Terps with a drive highlighted by a 52 yard pass putting them in field goal range. Kicker, Nick Ferrara, who had recently missed his last kick, sent this one up and true giving Maryland the lead again. Just then, it seemed as though the wind and rain began to pick up. Could Hurricane-like conditions drown the Hurricanes? Miami still had time. A few completed passes had the crowd shifting in their seats. But, Cameron Chism would intercept an ill-fated pass that was returned all the way back for the door slamming score. Both teams had a lot to be proud of in their opening games. But, for Maryland, this 32-24 win felt like the start of something special. As fans headed out of Byrd Stadium, a loud chorus of “Let’s Go Maryland!” could be heard throughout. The colors of the flag might have shown a little brighter tonight.