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Putting Penn State’s Influence On Maryland Football’s Attendance In Perspective

Penn State football put on a show in front of one of Maryland Stadium’s largest-ever crowds on Friday night.

The Nittany Lions picked up a 59-0 victory over Maryland in front of 53,228 fans, which is the sixth-largest turnout in the stadium’s history. The Terrapins asked their fans to wear black, and naturally, Penn State responded by urging its fans to wear white.

The fans cooperated.

“Our fans were phenomenal. They really were,” head coach James Franklin said postgame. “I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the type of support that we get from our fans and how they travel. I thought that was significant in the game.”

A sell-out crowd was expected, but Friday night wasn’t the first time that a Penn State-Maryland game attracted a huge crowd to Maryland Stadium. The Nittany Lions have played the Terrapins in College Park just 15 times, and three of those meetings — including Friday’s — rank among the 20 largest crowds in Maryland Stadium history.

Penn State’s 15-13 win over Maryland in 1975 drew 58,973 fans to Maryland Stadium — the largest crowd in the venue’s history. In 1979, 52,348 fans made up the 16th-largest crowd in Maryland Stadium history to watch the Nittany Lions’ 27-7 win over the Terps.

The Big Ten had nothing to do with those record crowds in the 1970s, either. Penn State was an independent until joining the conference in the early 1990s, and Maryland was in the ACC as one of the conference’s founding members. Big Ten opponents have factored into Maryland’s record attendance numbers — match-ups against Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan drew top-20 crowds in Maryland Stadium history in 2014 and 2015 — but the draw of Penn State has lasted through the test of time.

Before Friday night, the Nittany Lions’ last visit to Maryland Stadium in 2017 took place in front of 49,680 fans. It’s worth noting that the two teams played at M&T Bank Stadium — the home of the Baltimore Ravens — in 2015, and that game drew a crowd of 68,948. Although it ~technically~ wasn’t a home game, that match-up’s attendance was larger than all six games the team played at Maryland Stadium that year.

The Nittany Lions gathered to celebrate with their traveling fans following Friday’s 59-0 victory over Maryland.

Penn State’s trips to Maryland may not always draw record-setting crowds, but they’re definitely all close to sellouts. The two teams played in front of 42,008 fans in 1993 — back when the stadium’s capacity was listed at 45,000 prior to renovations. In 1985, a huge crowd of 50,750 fans watched the 19th-ranked Nittany Lions open their season with a 20-18 victory over then-No. 7 Maryland in College Park.

It’s worth noting that Penn State made trips to Baltimore for “neutral-site” games against the Terps in 1987, 1989, and 1991. All three of those contests drew crowds of at least 57,000 fans to Memorial Stadium, which was knocked down in 2001.

As far as this season is concerned, the Penn State game was Maryland’s first sellout of the year. The Terrapins’ opening-day rout of Howard only drew a crowd of 32,761 fans, and 33,493 fans watched Maryland’s upset of then-No. 21 Syracuse.

Time will tell whether or not the Terrapins play a home game in front of a sell-out crowd again this year, but there’s no denying the Nittany Lions’ impact on Maryland’s attendance over the years.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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