Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2011. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2012.
As part of our 2012 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.
Team: Maryland Terrapins
Last Year: Loss, 38-7 vs. Temple
This Year: September 8, at Temple
When you lose 10 games in one season, a lot of games could be considered “payback.” So while there were certainly closer final scores and more agonizing endings, it’s doubtful any hurt more than the 38-7 drubbing from the MAC‘s Temple — and at home, no less. After flashing an awful lot of bravado for a team that was just 1-1 entering the contest, the Terps had every reason to believe they’d beat the “inferior” Owls and cruise to a victory. Obviously, this was not to be the case.
Maryland — dominated from the opening snap — never even had a chance in the contest. After one quarter, they were already down 21-0, and the Owls just continued to run the ball down their throats, courtesy of running back Bernard Pierce. Pierce would end the day with 149 of the school’s 285 rushing yards, and ended up setting a school record with five rushing scores, as well. Temple QB Chester Stewart was a perfect nine-for-nine passing, for 140 yards. Maryland was out-gained by 180 total yards, were more than doubled up on time-of-possession (41:01 to 18:59) and only mustered 45 rushing yards. Said Terps coach Randy Edsall afterward: “What happened today is unacceptable and really, embarrassing. We didn’t rise to the challenge today, pure and simple.” He was unaware at the time just how much this quote would apply to the 2011 season.
In 2012, there’s no more Pierce to send chills down the Terrapins’ spines, and the team’s defense looks to be improved overall. While Temple’s now in a “BCS” conference, most hold this version in lesser regard than last season’s 9-4 edition. With a more mobile quarterback option in C.J. Brown, the team will be able to open up play calling and not be limited to simple drop-back passing and a straight-ahead running game. Overall, the game will likely serve as a litmus test for the type of season the Terps will have. If they perform well, they’ve got a chance at .500. If they’re trounced again — this time by what appears to be the Big East‘s worst squad — they’re in for another long season, and the beginning of the end for Edsall.