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A Brief History Of Penn State’s Chippy ‘Rivalry’ Moments With Maryland

As Maryland students wake up in College Park, they will brush their teeth with Old Bay, blow a kiss to that eyesore of a flag they surely have hanging on the walls, don a black t-shirt, definitely go to class until noon, and then (presumably) go to a tailgate or two.

Or maybe, they’ll prepare for the game at all 2.5 of their bars and gradually make their way into Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium for an 8 p.m. kick-off.

This is a “big game” for Maryland. For some reason — despite the Nittany Lions’ 39-2-1 record in the series — Maryland thinks this constitutes a rivalry, and the Terrapins’ actions over the years certainly reflect that.

The Terrapins’ only wins against the Nittany Lions came in 1961 and 2015, while the sides’ one tie at an even 13-13 scoreline took place in 1989. between Penn State’s first loss and the 1989 draw, the Nittany Lions held a 24-game winning streak against the Terrapins.

This year’s contest, however, could prove a bit more challenging for the Nittany Lions than the past four meetings suggest. The Terps enter the game in the midst of a season where they have risen into and dropped out of the Top 25.

Even if results haven’t backed up claims of a rivalry between Penn State and Maryland, their games feature all the emotion, fighting, and late hits of the Red Sox vs. Yankees, Celtics vs. Lakers, Packers vs. Bears, and so on. For this reason, it’s worth revisiting a few key moments in which tension between the two teams reached its boiling point.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane before the Nittany Lions face the Terrapins once again:

November 1, 2014

This game is important for two reasons: It was Maryland’s first time playing Penn State since joining the Big Ten and James Franklin’s first season as head coach after the NCAA ended the postseason ban and scholarship limits. The Nittany Lions were sitting at 4-3 ahead of the match-up while Maryland had a slightly better 5-3 record.

A fight broke out between the two teams during warmups. Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs hit a referee while then-head coach Randy Edsall did nothing to stop it. Later during the coin toss, Maryland players infamously refused to shake Penn State players’ hands, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct foul which gave the Nittany Lions a 15-yard advantage before the game began.

After the Terrapins won 20-19, Maryland was fined $10,000. During the postgame press conference Randy Edsall ominously stated: Let the rivalry begin.

Five years later and we’re still waiting on that rivalry to start. We’re also waiting for the Terps to win another game against the Nittany Lions.

October 8, 2016

2016 was the year Penn State football returned to national prominence. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten Championship, smelled the roses in Pasadena, and program talisman Saquon Barkley was just taking flight. Penn State fans everywhere can look back on this season and remember where they were when Marcus Allen blocked the field goal against Ohio State. 

This is also the year that Maryland once again threw sportsmanship out the window in the name of “rivalry.” During a kick return, Maryland linebacker Isaiah Davis lowered his shoulder and hitting Penn State kicker Joey Julius.

The Nittany Lions defeated the Terrapins 38-14.

Back To The Present

It’s been five years since Maryland has felt anything other than defeat at the hands of Penn State, and as of today, it has been 1,083 days since they last scored a touchdown against the Nittany Lions. 

In preparation for the game, the university has canceled all classes after 12 p.m., making these Friday night lights a little more bearable. They also chose Penn State for their annual blackout, though they don’t tend to have much luck with those. 

All of this extra time to tailgate has gotten fans from both teams excited. Maryland announced on Wednesday that the game had officially sold out, even after they added extra student seats behind the student section. Penn State student tickets ran for $78, which is actually on the cheaper end compared to some of the other away games on the schedule this year, and quickly sold out as well.  

So, yeah, maybe there is a rivalry here, but it seems more like the rivalry between the hammer and the nail: complete, but loud and aggressive, domination.

*Cue Zombie Nation*

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About the Author

Katie Moats

Katie Moats is a junior majoring in English, and although she says she's from Chicago, she could spit and it would hit Wisconsin. One time she studied abroad for about a minute and decided to get an entire tattoo on her body about it. If you like seeing Penn State-themed retweets and other stupid memes, you can follow her @k_moats24 on Twitter.

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