Penn State-Maryland a rivalry? Not exactly

Penn State and Maryland are in border states. Their teams have met on the football field 37 times. So when they face each other Saturday at Beaver Stadium for the first time since 1993, it means the rebirth of a rivalry, right?

Uh, it depends on whom you ask.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall looks forward to making this a rivalry. As for Penn State's James Franklin, not so much.

"This is a Big Ten game for us and we're excited about playing a Big Ten game," Franklin said after practice Wednesday. "There's some regional perspective to it, the fact that we're border states and things like that. But this is an opportunity to play a Big Ten football opponent, similar to Rutgers, similar to Ohio State . . . so we don't look at it" as a rivalry.

The numbers associated with this series have been dreadful if you're a Terrapins fan. Maryland is 1-35-1, 0-22 at Beaver Stadium, and 0-25 in games coached by the late Joe Paterno. Maryland's only win, 21-17, came in 1961 in College Park, Md.

Edsall, a native of Glen Rock, Pa., near York, knows that the win total on the Terps' side must improve before this series can be granted rivalry status.

"You have to win games, and that's one thing that we haven't done here at the University of Maryland," he said this week. "We will get the chance to play them now on a yearly basis. What we have to do is continue to get better. If you are ever going to make a series a rivalry, there has to be wins on our side to make that happen."

Victories impress high school recruits. Franklin struck a nerve with Edsall after he was hired when he made his "dominate-the-state" remarks about recruiting, that he considered in-state anywhere six hours from campus. The Penn State roster shows nine players from Maryland, while the Terrapins have 13 players from Pennsylvania.

But Franklin won't bite on questions about how the series affects Nittany Lions recruiting.

"We don't get into those things," he said.

Edsall acknowledged that "Penn State has pretty much always gotten who they wanted to get down here.

"It goes back to beating them on the field to change those things," he said. "What you have to do is go out and play to the best of your ability and win. That way you can probably keep more of those guys here at home."

Another aspect is Franklin's link to Maryland, where he has served two separate terms as an assistant. He was named its coach-in-waiting in February 2009, ready to take over after the 2011 season when the contract of then-coach Ralph Friedgen expired.

However, following a change in the Terps' athletic administration, Franklin decided to accept an offer from Vanderbilt after the 2010 season and departed. Friedgen was fired a short time later.

Nittany notes. Free safety Ryan Keiser has undergone another surgical procedure to repair a bowel injury he suffered in practice last week. Through a Penn State spokesman, Keiser's family said he remains in intensive care but continues to improve at Hershey Medical Center. The injury was detected after Keiser fractured a rib last week. . . . The Nittany Lions will open their 2018 season at home against Appalachian State. The scheduling of the Mountainers means the Lions' schedules are complete for the 2015-through-2018 seasons.

 


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