Top 10 Ralph Friedgen Era Victories

December 29, 2010 | Glenn Clark

Yep…it’s another list. Hey, it’s the end of the year.

As Ralph Friedgen’s tenure as University of Maryland football coach comes to a close with this afternoon’s Military Bowl contest against East Carolina at RFK Stadium (Luke Jones hosts our “Turtle Power” live chat here at WNST.net at 2:30), I figured I’d look back on the era of “The Fridge” by remembering his best victories as Maryland football coach.

(Edit from GMC: It was brought to my attention at 9:55am that my friend Patrick Stevens of D1scourse.com posted a similar list at 9:43am. S.O.B. I encourage you to check his list out as well.)

Honorable Mention: Maryland 24, Purdue 7 (December 29, 2006 Champs Sports Bowl Florida Citrus Bowl Orlando, FL); Maryland 35, California 27 (September 13, 2008 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD); Maryland 23, Navy 20 (September 3, 2005 M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, MD); Maryland 17, Navy 14 (September 6, 2010 M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore, MD); Maryland 26, Wake Forest 0 (October 18, 2008 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD); Maryland 20, Clemson 17 (September 27, 2008 Memorial Stadium Clemson, SC); Maryland 14, Miami 13 (November 11, 2006); Maryland 27, Florida State 24 (October 28, 2006 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD); Maryland 28, Virginia 26 (October 14, 2006 Scott Stadium Charlottesville, VA)

10. Maryland 38, NC State 31 (November 27, 2010 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz6qO2a5nRI[/youtube]

The last regular season win of Friedgen’s career certainly stands out to some extent.

It looked (at the time) like this was the “statement” win the Terrapins needed with Danny O’Brien under center to prove they were headed in the direction of an ACC title.

They might still be, it just won’t be with Friedgen at the helm.

Wherever Torrey Smith ranks amongst the great players in Friedgen’s tenure, this was clearly his best game. He was absolutely DOMINANT against the Wolfpack…who I have a funny feeling will show up again on this list.

9. Maryland 37, Clemson 20 (November 10, 2001 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T6pGkM-Sxw[/youtube]

This game was already going to be meaningful, as it was the first time Byrd Stadium was sold out in the Friedgen era.

After North Carolina State beat Florida State earlier in the day, the game became very significant-as it put the Terps on the track towards the BCS.

The game itself wasn’t of the epic nature; but the Terps had lost eight straight to the Tigers before finally breaking through.

This was also the first “rush the field” moment in Friedgen’s ten seasons.

It wasn’t quite as big as the team’s next win, but we’ll get to that.

8. Maryland 26, NC State 24 (November 22, 2003 Carter-Finley Stadium Raleigh, NC)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GQAxI9q5dI[/youtube]

This game was significant for multiple reasons.

First, it finished off a perfect 4-0 record for Friedgen against NCSU while Phillip Rivers was quarterback.

Second, the game did have a bit of an epic nature after Nick Novak missed what would have been a game-tying extra point. Leroy Ambush forced a turnover, and Novak was able to get redemption by kicking the game-winning field goal.

And third, it kept Maryland on track for what would eventually be a Gator Bowl berth on New Year’s Day.

7. Maryland 20, Georgia Tech 17 OT (October 11, 2001 Bobby Dodd Stadium Atlanta, GA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtcYJK21R0s[/youtube]

This might not be high enough on the list. Hell, I know it isn’t high enough on the list. But I already made the list. I’m not changing it now.

This was the very first significant win in the Friedgen era at Maryland, and it was absolutely miraculous.

Yellow Jackets RB Joe Burns inexplicably ran out of bounds late in regulation with his team ahead 17-14; setting up a career long 46 yard field goal by Novak (who had been AWFUL up to that point in his Maryland career) to send the game to overtime. In OT, another Burns fumble would seal the first win over a ranked team for Friedgen at his alma mater.

With the win, Friedgen’s Terps improved to 6-0; forcing fans throughout the Mid-Atlantic to take notice of what was happening in College Park.

6. Maryland 34, Rutgers 24 (September 29, 2007 Rutgers Stadium Piscataway, NJ)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=485yysHK7m8[/youtube]

Of all of the wins on this list, this is certainly the most improbable.

When Jordan Steffy went down against the Scarlet Knights, a large number of Maryland fans had to think to themselves “who the hell is Chris Turner?”

They’d find out in a big way.

Perhaps the game was more significant because of the sheer number of then-current or former Garden State residents who went to the University of Maryland.

There were definitely a number of households torn up and down the I-95 corridor because of the matchup.

For Friedgen, it would be the first of two wins over Top 10 opponents that season.

5. Maryland 41, West Virginia 7 (January 1, 2004 Gator Bowl Alltel Stadium Jacksonville, FL)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q63nyT2mhtM[/youtube]

The ONLY thing about this game that gets it on the list was the fact that it was a New Year’s Day game played on NBC-making it arguably the highest profile win in the Friedgen era.

The game wasn’t exactly exciting, save for some impressive Scott McBrien to Steve Suter theatrics. The matchup was disappointing, as the Terps had already posted a blowout victory over WVU earlier in the year.

It was the third straight high-profile bowl game Maryland reached to start Friedgen’s career. Unfortunately, it was also the last.

It was also the last time Friedgen would collect a victory over the Mountaineers.

Had those last two statements been different, the Friedgen era might not be coming to a close in DC today.

4. Maryland 42, Boston College 35 (November 11, 2007 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6di8qtmN9Zo[/youtube]

When he’s 70 years old, Chris Turner will still be able to tell everyone he talks to that he once beat Matt Ryan.

Ryan entered the Saturday night national TV showdown (ABC) near the front of the Heisman Trophy race. He didn’t necessarily disappoint (421 yards passing and 3TD’s) in front of the College Park crowd, but he was outdone by a guy who was better known for looking like Napoleon Dynamite.

Turner threw for 337 yards and 3TD’s himself, while Lance Ball added 122 yards on the ground and a rushing TD. Maryland was ahead 42-21 in the second half before eventually holding off the Eagles late.

It was an impressive victory for a frustrating team. Friedgen’s Terps beat two Top 10 teams that season, but finished just 6-6 and lost to Oregon State in the Emerald Bowl.

3. Maryland 20, Florida State 17 (October 30, 2004 Byrd Stadium College Park, MD)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGX8Mvr5Evw[/youtube]

Maryland was 0-14 all time against FSU until this game.

Friedgen was ofer in his first three contests against the Seminoles himself until this game.

History will forever note that Joel Statham was the first ever Maryland QB to beat Florida State.

Six years later, I still really can’t believe it happened.

2. Maryland 30, Tennessee 3 (December 31, 2002 Peach Bowl Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDi9rXxCGSQ[/youtube]

You can count Ralph Friedgen’s wins over SEC programs on one finger.

Not only was Maryland’s Peach Bowl romp over the Volunteers the first significantly high-profile (New Year’s Eve on ESPN) non-conference win under Friedgen, it was also the statement game for E.J. Henderson; who will probably go down as the best player of the Friedgen era.

It was the type of win that allowed Maryland fans to measure the progress the Terps had made through two seasons.

It was also the type of win that made fans think more postseason wins over SEC teams would be coming in the future.

Obviously they didn’t.

1. Maryland 23, NC State 19 (November 17, 2001 Carter-Finley Stadium Raleigh, NC)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QszioOHki8[/youtube]

Shaun Hill and Guilian Gary will forever be remembered as the combination that sent Maryland to their first ACC Championship in 16 years and their first Orange Bowl berth since 1956.

The only unfortunate thing about #1 is that most coaches probably don’t want to be remembered as collecting their most significant victory in their first season.

Friedgen never returned to this moment, but it doesn’t take anything away from the victory itself.

It was an awesome moment in University of Maryland athletics history.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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