This is the fifth of a series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 11.
People watch sports for a lot of reasons: great teams, great athletes, and great moments.
We already covered #1 and #2 on that list, and today's topic of Where I Come From is for the third of the trio. And luckily, Maryland's had plenty of memorable moments over their history and in the past few years.
Without further ado, let's just get to the list:
A quick note: like I said earlier, I became a serious fan in the mid-to-late '90s, so the majority of my favorite moments come from the past decade because those are what I remember. If I leave off a certain moment, it might be because I didn't experience it.
And another one: this list is very long. But it made for an awesome morning.
Shaun Hill to Guilian Gary for the ACC Championship
That the commentators for this game were so unexcited, so calm about this moment really belies its importance. Maryland needed a win for their first ACC Championship in God knows how long, and for a solid chunk of the game, weren't getting it. Then Hill comes along, calmly steps back, and finds Gary in the corner of the endzone.
Orange Bowl, here we come.
The Scott McBrien Naked Bootleg
I already went over this play twice before, but its because its literally one of my favorite football plays of all-time. It just worked so unbelievably perfectly, and even the reach of the football and McBrien pointing after scoring are simply perfect.
The D'Qwell Jackson Interception Return
No video is available of this, and that hurts. I already mentioned it yesterday, but he leveled two Florida State players, and actively did it. This wasn't a situation where they tried to tackle him and they bounced off; he lowered his shoulder into them. Maryland would lose, but it was still an amazing play.
The Five Game Stretch in 2006
Okay, so this is cheating a tad. But within these five games - all wins, against Virginia, N.C. State, Florida State, Clemson, and Miami - Maryland took their season from fringe bowl game to serious contender. They were just 3-2 at the time, and the three wins came against William and Mary, Middle Tennessee State, and Florida International. Had they not lost their next two games, they might've won the ACC title. As we all know, it didn't work out that way, but that was one of my favorite stretches ever.
First came that hugely improbable comeback against UVA, when Maryland went into the half losing 20-0. For some reason, I mentioned that I had a good feeling about the second half. And Maryland fought their way back, eventually taking a 21-20 lead on a Keon Lattimore run before Erin Henderson - who was the best player on the field that day - returned an interception for a touchdown to seal the deal.
There was also one of the first blackout games, against Florida State. It was cold that night, and the wind chill dropped it into single digits, maybe lower. But Jeremy Navarre's block with :42 left to seal an unexpected 27-24 win was all worth it.
And who could forget Maryland's 52-yard drive with about two minutes left to give Dan Ennis a shot at a win over Clemson? Ennis, of course, converted, and Maryland left Death Valley with their fourth straight W.
Finally was the Miami game, which contained the unbelievably awesome Darrius Heyward-Bey touchdowns.
What a stretch of games.
The Rutgers Upset
An unheard-of QB comes off the bench to spark an upset, away from home, of a top-10 team. We didn't know who Chris Turner was at the time, but fell in love with him after a gritty performance to give Maryland a much-needed win after coming off back-to-back losses.
Just About Anything Len Bias
I never saw Len Bias play, and for that I am devastated. But the list isn't complete without him on it in some fashion.
Winning a Championship
There were plenty of "moments" to remember from the 2002 NCAA Championship team. But nothing - nothing - compares, at least for me, to the feeling of flat-out winning a title. That was a euphoric day all-around, whether it had a bunch of memorable shots or not. That single moment outshined everything else before it.
Drew Nicholas' Buzzer-Beater
I already wrote a much longer ode to this, but it was still amazing on so many levels.
Mike Grinnon's Free Throws
This team, with so much potential, would later implode. But if I had to pick a second-favorite moment of the past decade after the natty, it's Mike Grinnon, a senior walk-on, stepping up to the line to hit two clutch free-throws to seal an ACC Tournament Championship. Unbelievable.
Boom Osby's Game-Winner Over UNC
Upsetting an undefeated, #1 team on the road. Boom Osby and Greivis Vasquez. Boom's off-balance leaner/lay-up combo. "Go back to the ghetto!" I love beating UNC almost as much as Duke, and this was the second in a trio of great UNC-Maryland games.
UNC Home Comeback: The Gary Game
When Maryland needs a win, turn to UNC at home. This was, quite honestly, one of the best games I've ever seen, for so many reasons. The Greivis Vasquez triple-double, the gigantic comeback, the Gary Williams controversy beforehand. Simply unbelievable, and couldn't have been scripted better.
The Duke Win
In all honesty, this game probably doesn't make the list if it didn't happen last year. But it did, and it was Greivis Vasquez's Senior Night on top of that. Crazy game fully deserving of the riots that ensued.
So, what are your favorite moments? They can be on this list or off it; let us know.