Maryland Terrapins vs Towson Tigers: Randy Edsall and 5 Things to Watch for
The Maryland Terrapins will take on in-state rival, Towson, on Oct. 1 at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.
The two schools have never met on the gridiron, but given the history and reputation of the two programs, the Terps will be expected to win handily.
However, the game may have added importance for Maryland, as the Terps kick off the season with home games against the University of Miami (FL) and West Virginia University.
The October contest will be the Tigers first road game of the season, and one of just five road games on Towson's 2011 schedule.
Maryland is coming off of a nine-win season a year ago, but doing so with a new head coach, former UConn shot-caller Randy Edsall.
Meanwhile, Towson will be looking for an upset in an attempt to take home state bragging rights and improve on a dismal 1-10 season from a year ago.
Here are five things to watch for.
Maryland fans are excited about the return of sophomore field general Danny O'Brien.
After an injury to quarterback Jamarr Robinson, the Kernersville, North Carolina native got a chance to prove himself on Sept. 25, 2010 against Florida International.
O'Brien, in his first career start under center, completed 18-of-27 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the 14-point Maryland win.
O'Brien had a career day in Maryland's season finale win over NC State, in which he completed 33-of-47 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns.
No. 5 would go on to lead the Terps to a 51-20 win over ECU in the Military Bowl and finish out 2010 with a 7-3 record as a starter.
In two seasons as Towson's head football coach, Rob Ambrose has struggled to gain momentum.
In 2009, the Tigers failed to achieve any success, finishing the season 2-9 overall, with just one win in the conference (CAA).
2010 was no better for Ambrose and company, as Towson fell face-first into a 1-10 mark for the season, which included a dubious 0-8 conference record.
The 41-year-old former Tiger will be on the hot seat in 2011, as newly-hired Director of Athletics at Towson University Mike Waddell attempts to bring the program up to par.
Randy Edsall will have his work cut out for him in 2011, as he heads into the season with high expectations after replacing Ralph Friedgen, who went 75-50 with the Terps dating back to 2001.
Edsall is coming off of an eight-win season at Connecticut, where he won 74 games and two Big East titles in 12 seasons.
With the memories of a nine-win year fresh in the minds of many Terps fans, the 52-year-old Edsall will be under pressure to compete for the ACC crown in 2011.
Of the three quarterbacks on Towson's 2011 roster, junior Brian Potts is the only one with any experience under center in college football.
Potts started just one game in 2010, but played in a total of five games during the entire season.
Potts was far from stellar during his time on the field however.
The Deleware native had the lowest completion percentage of any of Towson's four participating quarterbacks last season (45.8 percent), while completing just 11-of-24 pass attempts for a total of 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for the season, most of which came in the Tigers' season finale against New Hampshire.
Sophomore Peter Athens and freshman Jarred Evans round out the Tigers' quarterback group, meaning the 6'4" Potts will likely be the starter on Oct. 1 against Maryland.
The University of Maryland College Park and Towson University boasts two of the state's largest universities in terms of enrollment, with Maryland enrolling more than 37,000 students and Towson hosting more than 22,000.
The two schools have met on the hardwood, on the lacrosse field, in the swimming pool and even the baseball diamond, but never before on the gridiron.
Fans from both schools will no doubt be out in full force on Oct. 1, rooting for their respective sides and enjoying just another college football Saturday in Maryland.
Patrick Clarke is a Featured Columnist for the Phoenix Suns. Follow on Twitter @_Pat_Clarke