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Maryland vs. Penn State: How A Handshake Snub Ignited The B1G’s Newest Rivalry


 

HAPPY VALLEY – In the now-immortal words of Maryland Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall following Maryland’s 20-19 win over Penn State at Beaver Stadium, “let the rivalry begin”

This after a pre-game scuffle, Maryland’s team captains refusing to shake hands with Penn State’s captains at midfield, and a former coach-in-waiting, now coaching for Penn State in James Franklin and welcome to the B1G 10’s newest—and most bitter border rivalry.

With conflicting reports of both teams running thru each other’s side of the field during warm-ups, throw out the proverbial crab cakes and cheese steaks, when the Terrapins and Lions hook up on the same gridiron going forward.

Let the rivalry begin. There should be a trophy for this game, it’s a bordering state. Let’s have some fun.” Randy Edsall. Maryland Terrapins head coach, following Maryland’s 20-19 win over Penn State.   

 

Talk about two teams, who don’t like each other, and this was the first time they ever meet as conference rivals.

One would think when one team has dominated a series, such as Penn State owning a series mark of 35-2-1 in 38 meetings, and Maryland posting only it’s second win vs. the Lions—and first since 1961–that one could call Maryland-Penn State a rivalry.

Based on various geographic, cultural and social reasons, it could be considered one now.

Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, left the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2012 to join the B1G, and along with fellow new member Rutgers, has helped the conference reach from as far west as the corn fields of Nebraska, all the way to the bustling big cities of the Atlantic seaboard.  And along with Penn State—itself a fairly new member for over two decades—help form the eastern arm of the conference.

Both campuses are roughly three and a half hours apart with both schools and teams having players from both states, with the Lions boasting three players from Baltimore County in safety Adrian Amos, cornerback Trevor Williams and left tackle Donovan Smith–and you have something special.

Also consider that many Pennsylvanians vacation in the popular summer beach town of Ocean City, and the two states already have many professional rivalries such as Ravens-Steelers, Eagles-Redskins—technically the District—Penguins/Flyers-Capitals and Sixers-Wizards, and Maryland-Pennsylvania can just go ahead and add Penn State-Maryland to the latest border skirmish between these two proud Mid-Atlantic states.

In reference to Maryland-Penn State, we all know the story of how Franklin was promised the Terps head coaching job, before leaving for Vanderbilt, and the comments he made in a May recruiting trip to Baltimore as “in-state” and Maryland circling the game on it’s calendar due to the 13 Keystone State natives on their roster.

In winning in Happy Valley, Maryland not only sent a message to the big, bad and more storied Penn State Lions that they don’t fear them, but also will not back down—ever.

While apologies have been exchanged between both school’s respective presidents, coaches and athletic directors, you better believe that thanks to Maryland’s snubbing of Penn State—and their victory—not only have the Terrapins raised the stakes in terms of recruiting in the Mid-Atlantic and regional profile, but have officially staked their claim in a newly formed bitter border rivalry with the Lions that will bring out the best in both teams.

To paraphrase from Edsall’s post-game comments, while no newly-minted rivalry trophy can ever replace that, Maryland vs. Penn State promises to be very entertaining.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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