BALTIMORE — A steady downpour blanketed Saturday’s 37-0 blowout of border rival West Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium, but the Terrapins pulled out of the parking lot thoroughly content with the reception they received up north.
“I don’t think today could have gone any better,” Maryland Coach Randy Edsall said. “We couldn’t have scripted it any better in terms of what happened. All we’re trying to do is grow our brand, trying to get more people behind us, be a part of what we’re doing. I think there’s room for us, with the Orioles and the Ravens, we’re just going to try to do the things we can to attract more people to come to our campus from this area, attract more fans to be part of what we’re doing.”
These Baltimore games – Saturday’s contest, and one against Penn State in 2015 – provide a multifaceted boon to Maryland. The athletic department makes $3.5 million per game. Recruits stuffed the purple seats behind the Maryland bench as their prospective school played inside an NFL stadium, sporting new high-tech, prideful Under Armour jerseys. And Edsall’s quest to bring his product to the people traveled to arguably its most important region.
“We all won today,” Edsall said. “The state of Maryland, the city of Baltimore, we all won today.”
And so it was that, when Edsall stepped to the dais, hair soaked into his scalp, his opening statement thanked the Baltimore Ravens for their hospitality, and Under Armour for its uniforms and hand-painted helmets.
“What can you say?” he said. “They just hit another home run.”
Thirty-nine Terps list Maryland as their home state, and six count Charm City as their home town. Tight end Dave Stinebaugh, who attended Perry Hall High School just northeast of downtown, caught his first career touchdown pass. Fullback Kenneth Goins, whose alma mater, Gilman, has sent two players to College Park over the past two seasons, started his fourth straight game. And linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil, with five relatives in the stands, including his mother who immigrated her family from Trinidad to Baltimore many years ago, snagged his first career interception.
“It was just great,” said Cudjoe-Virgil, who attended nearby Towson High School. “Everything was just great. Just a memorable experience. I’ll never forget, we played in M&T Bank Stadium, we got the shutout, everything was something to remember. I’ll never forget this day. It was awesome. The whole stadium as just packed. You definitely saw Maryland pride today. I wanted to do something in front of my home town. It was just a great experience.”
According to their Twitter accounts, several big-name recruits also absorbed the same atmosphere, no doubt an intended consequence of this Baltimore game. New Jersey four-star prospect Juwann Winfree took his official visit, and remains Maryland’s top choice at wide receiver for its lone open spot within the class of 2014. Georgia two-star safety Jordan Noil also attended, as did offensive lineman Jared Cohen, the first commitment Edsall received for this class, and Gilman defensive end Melvin Keihn.
The official attendance was 55,677, more than 14,000 fewer than when Maryland faced Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in 2010, but still a strong number considering the weather and dearth of walk-up sales. According to Terps officials, around 55,000 tickets had been distributed as of this week.
“To have the game on national TV, here in Baltimore, here at M&T Bank Stadium, it is, it’s very rewarding and very satisfying,” Edsall said. “We don’t take it lightly, but we know we still have so much more ahead of us. We can’t sit here and think we’ve arrived after four games, knowing we have eight more to go.”
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