By Ryan Connors
After Maryland football lost to Rutgers in their season finale, many Maryland fans were left thinking that the team would again be relegated to a meaningless bowl game against an insignificant opponent.
But the Terps and their fans can rest easy. Maryland is playing Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl on December 30 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. The game kicks off at 10 p.m. and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
Maryland students are noticeably more jazzed about this game than they were about last year’s appearance in the Military Bowl against Marshall.
“That game was played in Annapolis. I don’t think anyone outside of Maryland or Marshall’s fan base really cared about that game, and to make it worse, we lost,” said Elias Yishak, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “This game has a national audience and a marquee opponent. It’s definitely way more exciting,” he said.
Marshall went 10-4 last year, but did so in Conference USA, a much less prestigious football conference than Stanford’s Pac-12. This year, Conference USA has five teams in bowl games, but zero teams that finished in the final AP Top 25. The Pac-12 has eight teams competing in bowl games and finished with six teams in the final top 25. This year, Stanford started the season ranked no. 11 in the AP poll, but was out of the AP Top 25 by week nine after a 45-16 loss to eventual Pac-12 champion Oregon. They ended the season 7-5, the same record as Maryland, although they did receive votes in the last top 25 poll
“Maryland football has just been so much more exciting than it was last year,” Peter Danis said. “I think most people expected Maryland to have a rough transition to Big Ten football, but we surprised a lot of people, and that showed with a much more exciting bowl matchup this year,” he said.
Maryland finished its first year in the Big Ten with four wins and four losses, with the wins coming against Iowa, Indiana, Penn State, and Michigan.
Head coach Randy Edsall called the game “a well-deserved reward for our student-athletes for their commitment to our program.”
A Dec. 30 date gives students enough time to go home, relax, and get ready for one last game.
“No one really cared about last year’s bowl game, but people will definitely be tuning in to watch this one,” Yishak said.