By David Ginsburg
The Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Seems like Maryland is always saying farewell at the Military Bowl.
When the Terrapins last played in the event, Ralph Friedgen walked off the field for the final time in 2010 as coach at his alma mater.
Tonight, Maryland’s first bowl appearance under Randy Edsall will be the football program’s last game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. After facing Marshall in the sixth Military Bowl, the Terrapins will bid goodbye to ACC football and begin preparing to play next year in the Big Ten.
Maryland’s affiliation with the ACC began in 1953, when it joined as a charter member.
“It is bittersweet,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said Thursday. “I understand how much people love the University and being part of the ACC. I do embrace that. But as we move forward, going to the Big Ten is great for the institution and great for the athletic department.”
The Terrapins (7-5) understand the significance of the move from the ACC. They would love to go out in style, as they did in their final conference game, a 41-21 rout of North Carolina State on Nov. 30.
“We take pride in representing the ACC the right way,” quarterback C.J. Brown said. “We’ve been in this conference a long time. We ended our schedule on a high note, and we’re looking to build upon that in this game.”
Marshall (9-4) has other ideas. The Thundering Herd believes it can make a statement on behalf of Conference USA with a win over the Terrapins.
“We played an ACC school (Virginia Tech) and lost in triple-overtime. That kind of hurt,” Marshall right tackle Clint Van Horn said. “We like the challenge of playing up in competition. We have an opportunity to do that, and you can expect nothing less than the best from us.”
Homefield advantage: The game will be held at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which is 29 miles from Maryland’s home field. “It’s very important to be able to play in your state capital, to have your friends, your family the donors here to support the kids,” coach Terps Randy Edsall said. Advantage, Maryland? Not necessarily. The Thundering Herd has 10 players from the Washington area, and Marshall expects a huge crowd to come down from West Virginia.
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