Terrapins football begins new era in Big Ten

By Andrew Koch

Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall and his staff have finalized their roster, and the Terrapins have broken camp as they get ready for their first season in the Big Ten Conference.

After announcing in 2012 that it would be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference after helping create the conference in 1953, the University was sued by the conference for the exit fee of $52.3 million. That exit fee had been raised twice within the previous year. According to ESPN, the fee was first increased to $20 million in 2011, after Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the conference, and then up to $52.3 million the following year, when the University of Notre Dame announced that it would join the ACC in all sports except football.

Two months later, when Maryland announced that it was going to join the Big Ten, the ACC responded by withholding Maryland’s share of the conference’s TV and bowl revenue. Maryland filed suit, calling the move “an illegal penalty.” After being sued for the exit fee, the University filed a $157 million countersuit against the conference. In the suit, the school claimed that the ACC tried to recruit a pair of Big Ten schools to join after Maryland announced it was leaving. In a settlement that was reached on Aug. 8, the ACC will be allowed to keep the $31.4 million in TV and bowl revenue, and Maryland won’t owe the conference any additional money.

With all the legal wrangling in the background now in the rear-view mirror, the Terrapins football team focused on preparing for a new season and a new conference. Maryland went 7-6 in 2013, its final season in the ACC, including a 3-5 record in conference games. In training camp, much of the competition was on the offensive side of the ball. According to Matt Bertram of the Athletic Department’s Media Relations Office, this year’s training camp saw a wide-open competition at tight end. That position will have a young group, with the most experienced of the five on this year’s roster being sophomores Andrew Isaacs, Brian McMahon and P.J. Gallo. The other two tight ends on the roster are redshirt freshmen Eric Roca of Puerto Rico and Derrick Hayward of Wicomico High School in Salisbury. At running back, four players were competing for two spots to get regular playing time. However, one of those running backs, Jacquille Veii, has been converted into a wide receiver, and will be lining up in the slot.

The defense will be anchored by senior Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (Towson High School) and Sophomore Yannick Ngakoue at linebacker. Cudjoe-Virgil had 18 total tackles, three sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and an interception in six games as a redshirt junior last year. Ngakoue added 10 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The pass rush will be led by defensive end Andre Monroe, who led the team with 9.5 sacks, good for a tie for sixth in the ACC. Monroe set career highs in total and solo tackles in a game (10 total, seven solo in Maryland’s loss to Marshall in the Military Bowl), sacks and tackles for loss (three sacks, and 3.5 tackles-for-loss in an overtime win at Virginia Tech).

Maryland will open the season on Aug. 30 in College Park against James Madison. The non-conference schedule will include games at South Florida, home against West Virginia, and at Syracuse. The Terps will play their first Big Ten game on Sept. 27 at Indiana. The following week, they’ll play their first Big Ten home game against fifth-ranked Ohio State in the Buckeyes’ second visit to Maryland.

Following their bye week, Maryland will host Iowa on Oct. 18, and then travel to number 14 Wisconsin. The Terrapins will play at Penn State on Nov. 1, and after another week off, will have a night game at home against Michigan State. Maryland will wrap up the season with games at Michigan on Nov. 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers on Nov. 29 during Thanksgiving weekend.

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