by Malec Fahmy ‘20
December 5, 2018, Maryland football made a decision that would ultimately change the program for the better. With the conclusion of the disastrous DJ Durkin era, the hiring of new head coach Mike Locksley turns a new page in the football program after a season of mourning and turmoil with the wrongful death lawsuit of offensive linemen Jordan McNair.
Locksley is one of the best recruiters in the nation, especially with players in the DMV. Locksley quickly made the most of a short recruiting season, getting players such as four-star safety Nick Cross and Virginia Tech quarterback transfer Josh Jackson. When Locksely accepted the job, he made a promise to make Maryland football a competitive team again as it has not won a bowl game 2010, and has practically been the laughing stock of the Big 10 since its arrival in 2014.
Coming into the season, many expected Maryland to be terrible once again, but in week one, the Locksely era opened up with a thrashing of Howard, 79-0. The Terps ended the game fairly quickly, scoring 28 points in the first quarter, and 56 in the first half. Jackson led the team with 245 yards passing, and Maryland’s backfield combined for 317 rushing yards. Although this game was impressive, many believed that they would be brought back to reality when the No. 21 team in the nation, Syracuse, came to town on September 7.
To everyone’s surprise, Maryland put the beat down on the Orange, 63-20. Once again, the Terps came out of the gates strong, pouring on 42 points in the first half to Syracuse’s 13. If that wasn’t enough, running back Javon Leake scored a 64 yard touchdown just two minutes into the third quarter. Again, Jackson looked strong in the passing game, throwing for 296 yards and getting the ball to eight different players. Now, for the first time since 2013, Maryland found themselves in the top 25.
After Maryland beat Syracuse, practically everyone began to overlook their week three bout against Temple, as the excitement was growing towards the Friday night showdown against Penn State on September 27. Nearly 15,000 students requested tickets to the game, and the university has decided to add 1,000 temporary seats to try and accommodate for the demand. Although the Penn State hype has grown, Maryland was shocked in week three to Temple, dropping their first game of the season, 20-17. The Terps had numerous chances to take the game from the Owls, but could not convert on their opportunities, two being inside the ten yard line.
Nevertheless, Locksley has the program heading in the right direction, and will have them ready when the undefeated No. 12 Nittany Lions come to College Park on September 27 in the most anticipated game since the Ralph Friedgen coaching days, who will be the honorary captain for the game.