It’s the end of the year, and it’s time to reminisce.
While Maryland athletics’ 2018 might be remembered for tragedy and chaos in the football program, there were plenty of incredible moments that captured the hearts of Terps fans everywhere. Our writers remember their favorites. Join the conversation and share yours below!
The football team beat Texas, again
Thomas Kendziora: Maryland’s first football game after Jordan McNair’s death was always going to be an incredibly emotional experience. The moment of silence. The No. 79 flag on the sideline. Lining up with 10 men on the first play. And that’s before adding in the chaos that swarmed this program in the month leading up to gameday. With DJ Durkin on administrative leave and Matt Canada assuming the interim role with no prior head coaching experience, nobody knew what to expect.
The game was crazy. Maryland jumped ahead with a steady scoring drive and an explosive touchdown. Jeshaun Jones recorded a rushing, receiving and passing touchdown on his first three college touches. The Terps led 24-7, Texas cut it to 24-22 by halftime and pulled ahead in the third quarter, and Maryland answered with a Tayon Fleet-Davis score to start the fourth. And then storms delayed the game for an hour and a half. When play resumed, Maryland prevailed on a soggy, sloppy FedEx Field, forcing turnovers on Texas’ last three possessions.
Maryland, of course, finished the season just 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the second straight year. But I still remember this game day as well as any. I’ll remember the up-and-down game, the marching band playing on the concourse during the delay and the Terps’ victory press conference. Most of all, though, I’ll remember the pride that filled College Park that night when everyone returned to campus. Here’s to more nights like that in the Mike Locksley era.
Lefty Driesell is finally a Hall of Famer
Lamar Johnson: 15 years after coaching his final game, legendary head coach Lefty Driesell crossed the threshold of the Naismith Hall of Fame. He joined a stacked 2018 class that included Ray Allen, Grant Hill and Steve Nash, among others, and is the first head coach to win at least 100 games at four different stops.
Driesell took over Maryland basketball in 1969 and established expectations for the program over the next 17 seasons. With Driesell roaming the sidelines, the Terps would win two conference championships, a conference tournament crown and the program’s only NIT title, in addition to eight NCAA Tournament appearances. He’d also coach five All-Americans and 15 NBA draft picks in College Park, including John Lucas, the No. 1 pick in 1976, and the late Len Bias, who went No. 2 in 1986 two days before his untimely death.
This was the fourth time Driesell was a finalist for the vaunted hall, but had been passed over the three times prior. Introduced at the hall by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Driesell took his time to enjoy the moment, and rightfully so. Getting to the mountaintop was an experience that he would call the “happiest day” of his life.
Maryland lacrosse won a historic edition of “The Rivalry”
Justin Fitzgerald: This year’s edition of Maryland-Johns Hopkins had all the makings of a potential classic. A picturesque day at the end of what had been a miserable early spring. A Big Ten title on the line. A sellout crowd at Homewood Field, one of the best venues in college lacrosse.
The game lived up to expectations and then some. It was a defensive slugfest throughout. and every goal felt like double. Both teams went back and forth, but the Blue Jays took a 7-5 lead with 9:51 to go, a lead that felt like 15-5 the way the game was being played. But within the span of a minute late in the game, Maryland found a way to answer. Jared Bernhardt found Logan Wisnauskas on the door step of the goal to cut the lead in half with 3:32 to go. 56 seconds later, Will Snider, a junior who had scored three goals all season, tied the game.
Of course, one overtime wasn’t enough to decide this one. Johns Hopkins All-American midfielder Joel Tinney had two chances to win it, skying one way over the goal to start the first overtime, and rushing a shot that was easily saved by Dan Morris. In the third and final overtime, Snider became an unlikely hero. Fifty seconds into triple overtime, Snider caught a pass from Wisnauskas and fired a lazer past Brock Turnbaugh to win the game. It was the first time in over 50 years Maryland had won consecutive games against the Blue Jays at Homewood Field.
While the Terps didn’t end up taking home the ultimate prize for the second straight year, this is a game Maryland fans won’t forget for a long time.
And Maryland men’s soccer captured a national championship
Sean Montiel: The team couldn’t score! Through four games of the 2018 season, Maryland men’s soccer was one of just two programs left without a goal to begin the year. But after beating West Virginia 1-0 on an Amar Sejdic header, the season was on.
The offense found its groove. The back line held up and Dayne St. Clair was the anchor the team so desperately needed. Wins started piling up and the nation was beginning to be put on notice. The Terrapins lost to Indiana, but a close ending showed they could hang with the powerhouses of the sport. Then they tied Indiana in the Big Ten tournament a month later, and failing to advance on penalty kicks may have been the best thing for this emerging team.
Once the NCAA Tournament came around, Maryland was unstoppable. The Terps beat NC State while allowing just one shot. They beat No. 6 Duke. Then they defeated No. 3 Kentucky to head to the College Cup in Santa Barbara, California, where a matchup with No. 2 Indiana was looming for the third time this season.
The third time was the charm, as Maryland took down the Hoosiers in the semifinals. And finally, in the 57th minute against Akron, Sejdic delivered on a penalty kick to score the game-winning goal and bring home Maryland’s first national championship in 10 years (it was also 50 years after its first-ever title). Oh yeah, and the back line posted five consecutive shutouts to end the season.
Players will come and go over the coming months before the 2019 team takes shape, but nobody in College Park will ever forget this squad, which can call itself College Cup champions forever.
What’s your favorite Maryland sports moment of 2018? Let us know in the comments!