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Posts tagged “Maryland Terrapins

Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 8

Luke Jackson, Matt Castello and I kick off the show with our thoughts about Randy Edsall and Maryland football before moving to Mark Turgeon and Terps basketball. We then shift to the Capitals’ new coaching change, Week 12 in the NFL and some MLB Hot Stove.

You can also download the Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes or download the show by clicking here!


Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 7

Matt Castello and I lead off the show discussing the eight athletic teams cut by the University of Maryland before talking about the Week 11 in the NFL and baseball’s new realignment and postseason ventures. The due also debate whether Justin Verlander should have won the American League MVP Award and if Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer in addition to ranking the top five starters of the last 20 years.

You can download the Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes or download the show by clicking here!


Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 5

Luke Jackson, Matt Castello and I talk about Week 9 in the NFL. We each list our top ten quarterbacks in the game and then briefly discuss the Penn State situation regarding Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky before talking Maryland Terrapins basketball.

You can also download the Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes or download the show by clicking here!


Top Strikers Get Together On Pitch As No. 3 Terps Clash With No. 24 Duke

As the Maryland men’s soccer team headed into the locker room for halftime in their match against Division II Adelphi Tuesday, the Terrapins found themselves in unfamiliar territory.

The Diamondback

Not only were they tied on the scoreboard at zero, but the Terps were outshot in a half, 4-3 by the Panthers, for just the second time all season. However, a more focused Maryland group emerged in the second half. The Terrapins outshot Adelphi 11-0 and used two goals from reserve forward Jake Pace in the 73rd and 74th minutes, respectively, to defeat the Panthers 2-0 in their final non-conference regular season game of the season. The goals were the first of Pace’s career. In helping to pitch Maryland’s seventh shutout of the season, freshman goalkeeper Keith Cardona earned his first career victory.

After a 2-1 loss in Charlottesville last week, Maryland (12-1-1, 3-1-0 ACC) resumes ACC play tonight against the Duke Blue Devils (7-4-1, 3-1-1). Duke has not been defeated in seven straight games, the Blue Devils’ best run since 2006. During that stretch, the Blue Devils are 6-0-1 and have outscored opponents 24-9, the most goals Duke has scored in a seven-game stretch since 2004. The Blue Devils are tied with North Carolina on top of the ACC standings to move into the College Soccer News poll for the first time since August. Duke is ranked No. 24 in the nation.

Tonight’s battle will feature two of the top strikers in the country. Duke’s Andrew Wenger leads the nation in both goals (15) and points (37). During the Blue Devils’ seven-game win streak, Wenger has scored 12 goals to go along with seven assists for 31 points. After a four-goal, one-assist performance in a pair of victories last week, he is was selected as the Disney Soccer/NSCAA, ACC and College Soccer News Men’s National Player of the Week. Wenger was also voted to the Soccer America Team of the Week for the second time this season.

The Diamondback

On the other side though, Maryland’s Casey Townsend is not far behind. Townsend has scored 12 goals for a total of 24 points this season, both of which rank second in the conference behind Wenger. However, while Wenger has accounted for 22 of Duke’s 29 goals, the Terps scoring attack is much more balanced. Townsend has accounted for 12 of Maryland’s 34 goals. John Stertzer is second on the Terrapins with nine goals and 21 points while Patrick Mullins has five goals for 12 points this year.

Here are some more notes for tonight’s game:

  • This is the 70th matchup between Maryland and Duke. The Terrapins have a 44-22-3 lead in the all-time series, which dates back to 1949. However, both teams have five wins in the last 10 meetings with each other.
  • Duke is 1-2-0 against Maryland under head coach John Kerr. The Blue Devils defeated the Terps in 2009 and have not lost consecutive regular season games to Maryland since 2006.
  • With a 3-1-1 record in the ACC, Duke is off to its best start in conference play since 2006, which is the last time the Blue Devils captured the ACC title.
  • This game features the top two offenses in the ACC. Maryland is averaging 2.43 goals per game to Duke’s 2.42. The Blue Devils’ 29 assists leads the ACC while the Terps are second with 28. Chris Tweed-Kent is tied for first on Duke with seven assists. Andrew Morales leads all ACC freshmen and is tied for 10th nationally with four assists. Sunny Jane leads Maryland with five assists.
  • Duke has scored 15 goals against ACC opponents this year, the sixth-most by the Blue Devils in conference play all-time. The 2000 Blue Devils scored 19 goals against ACC foes, the most all-time by a Duke team.
  • All four of Duke’s losses this season have come by one goal. The Blue Devils outshot each of their opponents in those games and have outshot all but three of its opponents this season.
  • Duke is 5-1-1 in games in which they have scored first. The Blue Devils are 5-0 when leading at the half and 0-2 when trailing and 2-2-1 when tied.
  • Duke has outscored their opponents by a 29-17 margin. They have 11 goals in the first half and 18 in the second half. The Blue Devils have scored at least one goal in the first half in six of their seven victories.
  • Nick Palodichuk currently is tied for first among freshmen across the country with six goals and 15 points overall, both of which are second on the Blue Devils.
  • Duke and Maryland have played two common opponent so far this season. Both teams earned wins over NC State and suffered losses to Virginia.
  • The Terrapins are the fifth ranked team the Blue Devils have played this season. Duke is 0-3-1 and has been outscored 7-4 by ranked opponents.
  • Maryland is 3-0 against ranked opponents this season. They have outshot ranked teams by a 46-20 margin. The Terps have outscored ranked opponents 14-2 this season. Against unranked teams, their margin is just 18-7.
  • Maryland has outshot its opponents 244-122 this season, as well as outscoring them 34-10. The Terps have scored 15 goals in the first half and 17 in the second half, as well as two overtime goals.
  • The Terrapins defense is surrendering just 0.71 goals per game, second in the ACC. They have allowed only 39 shots on goal all season. Maryland’s seven shutouts leads the ACC.
  • The Terps are  9-0-0 at home this and have allowed just five goals at Ludwig Field. Maryland is averaging 3,808 fans per game.

You can listen to the action live on WMUC Sports at 6:45. Steve Goldstein will be on the call along with Luke Jackson.


No. 2 Maryland Soccer Resumes Rivalry With No. 23 Virginia

It wasn’t pretty, but ultimately the second-ranked Maryland Terrapins (11-0-1, 3-0-0) were able to pull off a 2-1 overtime win Tuesday over Rutgers (4-5-1). John Stertzer (8), celebrating his 21st birthday, headed in the game’s first goal in the 20th minute off a corner kick. However, the Scarlet Knights responded with a goal by Sam Archer to knot things up just two minutes later. The game would remained tied through regulation. However, seven minutes into overtime, Stertzer (9-97th) put the icing on the cake by scoring his second goal of the game to give Maryland their fourth win in 10 days. As a whole, the Terps have surrendered just three goals in their last six matches.

Maryland will resume one of college soccer’s most historic rivalries tonight with the No. 23 Virginia Cavaliers (6-4-0, 2-1-0) in Charlottesville, VA. The Cavaliers are coming off a 2-0 home win over Clemson in which they held the Tigers without a shot until the 53rd minute and allowed only two shots throughout the entire match. Virginia was able to tally 15 shots in the game.

The Terrapins are the fourth different ranked opponent that Virginia will battle this season. The Wahoos are 1-2 against ranked teams, beating then-No. 25 Duke before losing to both then-No. 19 Charlotte and then-No. 4 North Carolina. The Cavaliers have been outshot 50-34 and outscored 5-2 in these games. Here are some more notes to tonight’s game:

  • Virginia has outscored its opponents 20-14 this year. They’ve netted 10 first half goals and 10 second half goals while yielding five goals in the first half and eight in the second.
  • Will Bates leads the Cavaliers in goals (9) and points (21). His three assists rank second on the team behind Brian Span’s four assists. Bates has scored in nine of Virginia’s 10 matches.
  • Span is second on the team with three goals and 10 points. He is the only Wahoo besides Bates with more than four points on the season.
  • Nine different Cavaliers have notched goals this season.
  • Maryland owns a 37-28-8 edge in the programs’ all-time series, which dates to 1941. The teams have met five times in the last two seasons, with Maryland winning both matchups by 2-0 counts last season and Virginia taking all three contests in 2009, including two in the postseason. The Terps are 5-4-1 in their last 10 matches against the Cavaliers.
  • Maryland is 3-0 against top-25 ranked opponents this season. They have outshot ranked teams by a 46-20 margin. The Terps have outscored ranked opponents 14-2 this season. Against unranked teams, their margin is just 17-6.
  • Casey Townsend leads the Terps in goals (11) and points (22). Stertzer is second with nine goals and 21 points to go along with three assists.
  • Townsend ranks second in the ACC with 11 goals, one behind Duke’s Andrew Wenger. Will Bates is tied for third with nine.
  • Townsend is the reigning ACC, NSCAA and Soccer America National Player of the Week. He is currently seventh all-time in career goals at Maryland with 37.
  • John Stertzer is coming off his second multi-goal performance of the season.
  • Patrick Mullins is third on the Terps with 12 points on five goals and two assists. Sunny Jane leads Maryland with five assists.
  • Maryland is ranked first nationally with 31 goals; Virginia is tied for 18th with 20 scores. The Terps have also given up an ACC-low eight goals this season.
  • Maryland played more games (12) than any other team ranked in the top 25 of the NSCAACoaches Poll.
You can listen to the action live from Charlottesville on WMUC Sports at 6:45. I will be on the call along with Josh Fendrick.

After Huge Win, No. 2 Terps Host Rutgers Tonight

After a week that saw the Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team tie Seton Hall 0-0 and beat Virginia Tech 2-0, Maryland dropped from No. 1 in the rankings to No. 3, behind UConn and Creighton, respectively. Once they defeated Charlotte last Tuesday by a score of 3-1, the Terps prepared to host the No. 2 Blue Jays at Ludwig Field. Coming into the game, not only was Creighton undefeated with a record of 8-0-0, but the Blue Jays had also not even been scored upon.

The Terps made quick work to change that behind possibly the top forward in the nation. Casey Townsend (11) scored in the 14th minute in what ultimately proved to be the game-winner. Maryland’s defensive backline was stellar, holding Creighton without a shot until the 48th minute and posting their sixth shutout of the season.

The Terrapins (10-0-1, 3-0-0 in the ACC), now ranked second in the nation, are unbeaten in their first 11 games of the season for the first time since 1968, when the program won its first National Championship. They host Rutgers tonight (4-4-1) at Ludwig Field. Here are some notes for the game:

  • Rutgers comes into tonight 1-3-1 in their last five matches. The No. 2 Terrapins are the third ranked team the Scarlet Knights will face this year. Rutgers dropped a 1-0 game on September 16 to No. 25 Iona and lost 2-0 to No. 9 Indiana two days later.
  • Rutgers has scored as many goals (15) as the team as given up this year. Kene Eze (five goals) and Juan Pablo Correa (four goals) lead the Scarlet Knights in scoring.
  • Tonight’s game will be the fourth meeting all-time between Maryland and Rutgers. The Terrapins hold a 2-1 series advantage.
  • The Terps are coming off a week in which they defeated two ranked opponents in No. 12 Charlotte and No. 2 Creighton.
  • Maryland has outscored its opponents by a 29-7 margin this year. Casey Townsend (22 points) leads the Terps with 11 goals. John Stertzer (17 points) has scored seven times while Patrick Mullins (12 points) is third on the team with five goals.
  • The seven goals the Terrapins have given up are the fewest of any ACC team. They are allowing just 0.64 goals per game and have surrendered only 29 shots on goal all season.
  •  Maryland has outshot their opponents 193-85 this season.
  • This is Maryland’s eighth home game of the season. The Terps are averaging 4,537 fans per game at Ludwig Field in 2011.
You can listen to the action live on WMUC Sports at 7:20. Josh Fendrick and Pauly Kwestel will be on the call.

No. 3 Maryland Soccer Welcomes In Top-15 Opponent Charlotte

In their most lopsided game in all of 2010, the Maryland Terrapins dismantled the Virginia Tech Hokies on their home turf by a score of 7-0. However, after Virginia Tech, which had been picked in the preseason to finish in last in the ACC this season, beat then-No. 1 North Carolina September 10 in a 1-0 double overtime thriller, alarms went off that the No. 1 Maryland Terrapins could not take the Hokies lightly this time around.

Sure enough, the Terps did not come into Blacksburg too overconfident. After a frustrating 0-0 tie Tuesday at Seton Hall, Maryland got the ball to their top scorers early and often to create opportunities. While Virginia Tech goalie Kyle Renfro ultimately made eight saves, the Terrapins were able to find the back of the net twice to secure victory. John Stertzer headed in his sixth goal of the year in the 29th minute off a Kaoru Forbess free kick. In the 41st minute, Forbess sent a cross into the box that Casey Townsend netted for his ninth goal of the season to give the Terps a commanding 2-0 lead. Forbess now has three assists in the last four games after tallying just one in the first five matches of the year. Goalkeeper Will Swaim and Maryland’s backline were able to keep the Hokies off the scoreboard for their fifth shutout of the season as Maryland improved to 8-0-1 overall and 3-0-0 in the ACC. It is the first 3-0-0 start for the Terps in the ACC since 2003.

After spending last week away from Ludwig Field, the Terps (8-0-1, 3-0-0), now ranked third in the nation, host No. 12 Charlotte (7-1-0) in the first of two top-15 opponents the Terps will welcome to College Park this week. The 49ers are 2-0-0 against ACC opponents this season, having beaten then No. 10 Virginia 2-1 in overtime and Clemson 3-1. Here are some more notes for tonight’s game:

  • The 49ers enter tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak. They have outscored their opponents 16-5 this season and have shutout their opponents four times in eight games.
  • Charlotte boasts a very balanced scoring attack. Reigning Atlantic-10 Player of the Week Evan James leads the 49ers with four goals on the year. Jennings Rex is second on the team with three goals. Donnie Smith, Tyler Gibson and Isaac Caughrans have tallied two goals apiece.
  • This game will mark the second meeting between the two schools. Maryland defeated Charlotte in 2008 in overtime by a score of 2-1.
  • Over the last three seasons, the 49ers are 5-0-1 against the ACC, including a 2-0-0 record this year.
  • Maryland is outscoring its opponents 25-6 this year. The Terps have allowed just one goal in the last three games.
  • Of the six goals Maryland has allowed this season, five of them have come in the second half.
  • Maryland is surrendering just 0.67 goals per contest. They have allowed only 21 shots on goal all season.
  • The Terrapins are led on offense by Casey Townsend, who leads the team in both goals with nine and points with 18. Townsend had nine goals in all of 2010.
  • John Stertzer is second on the Terps in scoring with six goals and three assists for 15 points. Patrick Mullins is third with five goals and one assist for 11 points. Sunny Jane leads Maryland in assists with five.
  • The Terps have outshot their opponents 165-69 this year.
  • This is Maryland’s sixth home game of the season. The Terps are averaging 4,643 fans per game at Ludwig Field in 2011.
You can listen to the action live on WMUC Sports at 7:20. Luke Jackson and Pauly Kwestel will be on the call.

Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 3

I was on the airwaves by myself this week. Monday Night Madness began with discussion of both the American League and National League Wild Card races. I then discussed Week 3 in the NFL with the excitement surrounding the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions and why the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. The show wraps up with the decline of Maryland football.

You can also download the Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes or download the show by clicking here!


Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 2

Luke Jackson and I begin the show by discussing the Major League Baseball pennant races before moving to Week Two of the NFL season. We close the show by discussing Maryland football and soccer.

You can also download the Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes or download the show by clicking here!

You can also listen to our brand-new USA-themed introduction by clicking below!


No. 1 Maryland Men’s Soccer vs. NC State Highlight Package

No. 1 Maryland men’s soccer beat NC State 3-1 Friday night. Click below to listen to my highlight package from the game:


Top-ranked Maryland Soccer Ekes Out Win At UMBC, Host NC State

Everything had fallen into place for Maryland men’s soccer coming into their match Tuesday at in-state opponent UMBC. The Terrapins had throttled Stanford, Radford and No.8 Boston College by a combined score of 10-1 the previous week. During that three-game stretch, the Terps allowed only one shot on goal while they had four different players score at least once. And with then-No. 1 North Carolina losing in double overtime to Virginia Tech, Maryland was voted as the top-ranked team in the country. All of the Terps’ good fortune almost came to a screeching half against an upset-minded and experienced UMBC squad.

The Retrievers were able to hold the Terrapins off the scoreboard in the first half, the first time since Maryland’s victory over West Virginia in the second game of the season that the Terps did not net a first-half goal. However, Maryland came out firing after halftime. Casey Townsend (46th minute) scored his sixth goal of the year just 23 seconds into the second half on a pass from Sunny Jane to give the Terps a 1-0 lead. However, like they would for the rest of the night, UMBC would have an answer. Just six minutes later, Pete Caringi notted things up at one. Townsend (7- 57th) responded with a goal off a corner kick to give Maryland the lead again.

umterps.com

In the 81st minute, Townsend (8) scored his third goal of the game for his second-career hat trick. With only about 10 minutes to play, Maryland owned what looked to be an insurmountable lead with the way the Terps defense had been playing all season long. However, the Retrievers, who had scored only two goals all season long prior to this match, were able to answer once more and stormed back as defender Sean Rothe scored in both the 83rd and 84th minutes to tie things up. The stunned Terrapins would take things to overtime.

At the very end of the first overtime, Maryland was offered a perfect chance to end the game and go back to College Park with a victory. John Stertzer, who had previously knocked home a penalty kick against West Virginia two weeks ago, teed up the ball for a PK after forward Patrick Mullins was fouled inside the box. Stertzer missed the kick, but was able to make up for it later. In the 104th minute, Stertzer (4) headed in the game-winner off a cross from Taylor Kemp to give Maryland a hard-fought 4-3 victory in a game in which not much went their way. The Terps improved to 6-0-0 for the first time since 2003.

Maryland will resume ACC play tonight as they host North Carolina State (2-1-2, 0-0-0) at Ludwig Field. It will be the Wolfpack’s first ACC match of the season. NC State went 1-5-2 in conference play last season. Here are some more notes from today’s game:

  • The Wolfpack have already played two top-ten teams this season. They beat then No.  9 SMU 1-0 in overtime in the Duke/Nike Classic before losing to No. 8 UC Santa Barbara 1-0.
  • NC State has outscored its opponents 4-2 this year. Ollie Kelly leads the team with two goals on the season.
  • The Wolfpack boast a strong defense. Goalkeeper Fabian Otte has posted two shutouts this year and has made 14 saves to go along with his 0.36 goals against average.
  • Maryland beat NC State 3-1 last year in College Park. The Terrapins are 44-20-6 all-time against the Wolfpack.
  • After a two-goal effort against No. 8 Boston College, sophomore forward Patrick Mullins was named as the ACC Co-Player of the Week. Mullins is second on the Terps with five goals and is tied with Stertzer with 11 points, which is tied for second-most on the club.
  • Casey Townsend posted his second-career hat trick Tuesday against UMBC, giving him a team-leading eight goals and 16 points on the year. The senior forward had nine goals all of last season.
  • Maryland has outscored its opponents 20-5 this season. Stertzer is third on the team with four goals.
  • Redshirt senior Will Swaim has started every game in goal for the Terps. He has posted three shutouts and a 0.81 goals against average.
  • Maryland has averaged 4,732 fans per game at Ludwig Field in four matches this season.
You can listen to the action live on WMUC Sports at 7:20. Luke Jackson and Steve Goldstein will be on the call.

Monday Night Madness Podcast No. 1

I do a weekly talk show with a friend of mine, Luke Jackson, on WMUC Sports every Monday from 7-9 p.m. This week, we interview Baltimore Sun Maryland Terrapins beat writer Jeff Barker. We then talked about Terps football, Week 1 in the NFL and the Major League Baseball pennant races.

To download and listen to our weekly podcast, click here.

To download and listen to our interview with Jeff Barker, click here.

Don’t forget you can also download our Monday Night Madness podcast on iTunes!


Cirovski Reaches 300 Wins, No. 2 Terps Host No.8 Boston College Tonight

The No. 2 Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team was not at their best Sunday night. Facing an upset-minded Radford Highlanders team, a victory did not come easy, but the Terps earned one nonetheless.

“I thought that this could be a trap game after the three teams we played so far, but our guys came and responded quite well in the first half,” said head coach Sasho Cirovski.

Coming into Sunday night, Maryland had won convincingly over three brand-name schools – St. John’s, No. 17 West Virginia and Stanford. The Terps outscored their opponents 10-1. However, after goals from forwards Patrick Mullins (3- 20th minute) and Casey Townsend (4- 31st), Maryland was not able to simply use firepower to blowout another opponent. With freshman Kyle Roach starting for injured senior Alex Lee on the backline, the Terrapins (4-0-0) had to fend Radford off after Anthony Payne cut the lead in half in the 61st minute for the Highlanders (1-2-0).

“We haven’t had to manage a game at the end,” Cirovski said. “Today, I thought, we did that pretty well.”

The Terps’ ability to take control of the game late in the second half halted any thoughts of a Radford comeback and gave Cirovski his 300th career win, which places him 10th all-time among active Division I men’s soccer head coaches.

“I didn’t even know it until about three or four days ago when it was on the website,” Cirovski said when asked about the pressure of getting his 300th victory. “I would like to thank all of my former players and assistants who helped contribute and build this program. This is a collaborative team effort with all the great players, and the blood, sweat and tears and the coaches, what they’ve put in, it’s more of achievement for the program than it is for an individual coach.”

With Cirovski’s milestone out of the way, the Terps turn their attention towards ACC play. They host the eighth-ranked Boston College Eagles (4-0-0) tonight at rain-soaked Ludwig Field. The match will be Maryland’s first in conference play as they seek to defend their ACC Championship from last season.

“I really like this group,” said Cirovski. “They’re a fun group to coach. They’re very mature, very committed for such a young group and I think I’ve seen a lot of good things.”

Some notes for tonight’s game:

  • Boston College is tied with Maryland and Virginia for the ACC lead in scoring. Each team is averaging three goals per game.
  • Amit Aburmad, Kyle Bekker and Charlie Rugg have accounted for 10 of the Eagles’ 12 goals this year.
  • The two teams tied 1-1 last season in a game played in Chestnut Hill. Maryland is 5-2-1 all-time against Boston College.
  • Casey Townsend, John Stertzer and Patrick Mullins have combined for 10 of the Terps’ 12 goals this season.
  • Maryland has outscored its opponents 12-2 on the year.
You can listen to the action on WMUC Sports at 7:20. Pauly Kwestel and Luke Jackson will be on the call.

A Darkhorse Heisman Candidate

Plenty of other quarterbacks received more fanfare after the first weekend of the college football season. The obvious names already in the Heisman Trophy discussion are Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, Alabama’s Trent Richardson and Boise State’s Kellen Moore. However, judging from his performance against Miami in the rain Monday on national television, Maryland’s Danny O’Brien could emerge as a darkhorse in the Heisman running if he plays the rest of the season like he did against the Hurricanes.

There were concerns coming into the season if new Terps head coach Randy Edsall would utilize O’Brien’s special skill set after featuring a ground-and-pound attack during his 12 years as Connecticut’s head honcho. Here is a look at how often the Huskies liked to run the football under Edsall:

2010 UConn: 357 passes, 501 rushes (41.6 percent passing)

2009 UConn: 375 passes, 528 rushes (41.5 percent passing)

2008 UConn: 329 passes, 556 rushes (37.1 percent passing)

2007 UConn: 361 passes, 534 rushes (40.3 percent passing)

2006 UConn: 313 passes, 486 rushes (39.1 percent passing)

2005 UConn: 307 passes, 486 rushes (38.7 percent passing)

2004 UConn: 464 passes, 421 rushes (52.4 percent passing)

In Edsall’s last six years at UConn, the Huskies never threw the ball more than 41.6 percent of the time on offense. In three different seasons, Connecticut kept the ball on the ground more than 6o percent of the time. As evidenced by the chart above, the last time UConn put the ball in the air more than they ran it was seven seasons ago when future-NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky was under center for the Huskies. Granted, from 2005 through 2010, Edsall had a very gifted stable of running backs that included Donald Brown and Jordan Todman to help ease the pressure on an overmatched group of quarterbacks. In 2005, 2006 and 2008, the Huskies did not have a passer throw for more than 900 yards the whole season. Tyler Lorenzon’s 2,367 yard performance in 2007 is the only time UConn has had a passer throw for more than 1,500 yards in a year since Orlovsky graduated after the 2004 season. Even with his team’s ineptness at quarterback in his last six years at Connecticut, there were reasons to doubt whether Edsall would be able to transform to a more passing-oriented offense in his first season in College Park after featuring a run-first offense for so long.

The first Maryland drive of the 2011 season put to rest the doubts that Edsall and new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton would be reluctant to allow O’Brien to air it out consistently in the brand-new Terps attack. O’Brien, who threw for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season while completing 57 percent of his passes en route to becoming the first Maryland player ever to take home ACC Freshman of the Year honors, lined up in the shotgun almost exclusively as the Terps spread the field and ran a fast-paced offense that did not allow the Miami defense time to make substitutions.

The accelerated offense kept the Hurricanes defense on their heels as O’Brien shredded a weakened Miami secondary, finishing 31-for-44 (70.5 completion percentage) for 348 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The redshirt sophomore quarterback showed maturity, poise and coolness beyond his years with under four minutes to play and the Terps trailing 24-23. At Maryland’s own 26 yard line, O’Brien launched a 52-yard bomb to Kevin Dorsey to help set up Nick Ferrara’s game-winning field goal. Staying calm and collected under center, O’Brien piloted a fourth-quarter comeback drive to give the Terrapins their first win of the season.

The one area O’Brien left for improvement was his redzone management. He led the Terps inside Miami’s 20-yard line on seven of Maryland’s eight drives, but the Terrapins could only muster one touchdown out of those possessions. O’Brien also tossed an interception in the endzone on a play where he could have instead just walked across the goal line to score another touchdown. But while Maryland came away with a touchdown on only one drive that finished inside the Hurricanes’ 20, O’Brien failed to lead the Terps into the redzone only once all night. The Maryland redzone offense should improve in the coming weeks with the return of running back D.J. Adams, who scored 11 touchdowns last year but missed the Miami game due to a violation of team rules. More practice time with his brand-new receiving corp should also allow O’Brien to become more comfortable throwing to his set of weapons in the heavy traffic that comes with passing deep in an opponents’ territory.

Sure, five Miami Hurricane defensive starters were suspended for the season-opener Monday night. But Danny O’Brien’s performance, poise under pressure, ability to lead his team consistently down the field, the willingness of the new Maryland coaching staff to open up the passing attack and what should be an improved redzone attack in the coming weeks have to make O’Brien a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. His success has largely gone under the national radar in his Maryland career so far. However, as long as he continues to mature and develop as a quarterback, it won’t be long before the rest of the country takes notice and O’Brien plays himself into the running for college football’s top honor.


On The Subject of Maryland’s Uniforms

There has been a lot of debate regarding Maryland’s new state pride uniforms. There is obviously a lot going on with them, but like them or not, the uniforms have to already be considered a success. They are the buzz around the whole nation. Twitter blew up regarding the uniforms, as #Maryland was trending both during and after the Terps-Miami contest not because of the game, but because of Maryland’s new look. Sportscenter dedicated a whole segment of the show to discuss them. For a brand-new coaching staff looking to rebrand the program around the state of Maryland, the attention that has now been thrust upon the Terps over their uniforms after a nationally-televised win is tremendous. And for a fanbase that had a lukewarm response to the hiring of head coach Randy Edsall over Mike Leach, the uniforms, as well as an exciting opening-night victory over a brand-name opponent, go a long way in building consistent fan support in this undoubtedly new era of Maryland football.

The new uniforms are based on the state flag of Maryland. Both the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens use elements of the flag in small ways, but the Terps made a statement with their brand-new digs tonight. The University of Maryland is the flagship university of the state of Maryland. However, for years, “Maryland” has been associated with the Terrapins’ basketball team while “Terps” has been used to describe the football team. The new uniforms, as well as Maryland’s new marketing campaign, create an immediate association between University of Maryland football and the state of Maryland.

In a state that obsesses over its flag, the direct use of the flag in the design of the jerseys is perfect. The new uniforms are a source of state pride. Maryland is now the only school that has uniforms that are a direct representation of the state they play in. With the buzz the uniforms have already provided to give Maryland football this kind of attention and the connection the jerseys and helmets bring to its home state, the new Maryland football uniforms are an immediate success to a program that needs as much attention as possible on a national stage as it looks to take the next step towards becoming a national powerhouse. The buzz they have created, as well as the direct connection to the state pride Marylanders feel for in their flag, give Maryland the best uniforms in all of sports.

Here are more pictures of Maryland new state pride uniforms:

 


Cirovski Goes For Win No. 300 As No. 4 Terps Take On Radford

After scoring six second-half goals in their first two matches of the season, the No. 4 Maryland Terrapins men’s soccer team finally got off to a fast start Friday against Stanford. In front of 7,178 fans, the second-largest crowd ever at Ludwig Field, the Terps scored four first-half goals, the team’s most since scoring four, two of them from Casey Townsend, against Duquesne on September 15, 2009 in what would be a 7-0 victory.

The Terps proved their speed to be a mismatch against the Cardinal (0-2-0) from the get-go. Patrick Mullins (2) found the back of the net just 22 second into the match. Casey Townsend (2) followed up in the 10th minute with a left-footed strike from 12 yards out. In the 28th minute, Helge Leikvang (1) curved a free kick over Stanford’s wall and past Cardinal goalie Jason Dodson. Just like in Maryland’s four-goal first-half against Duquesne two years ago, Townsend (3-30th) scored his second goal of the half and the Terps built what would be an insurmountable 4-0 lead. Maryland goalkeeper Will Swaim did not need to make a save and picked up his second shutout of the season as the Terps improved to 3-0-0.

Maryland will host Radford (1-1-0) tonight at 7 p.m. as head coach Sasho Cirovski seeks his 300th career win. The Highlanders are coming off a 2-0 loss to Georgetown on Friday. College Park is the third stop on their six-game road-trip to begin the season.

Some notes for tonight’s game:

  • Maryland has outscored opponents 10-1 this season. John Stertzer and Casey Townsend lead the Terps with three goals apiece.
  • Radford sophomore Luis Grande was named the Big South Attacking Player of the Week after his golden-goal 49 seconds into overtime to give the Highlands a season-opening victory over Appalachian State. Chel Ho Kim Park assisted the goal.

You can listen to the action on WMUC Sports at 6:50. I will be on the call along with Eric Morrow.


No. 4 Terps Soccer Highlight Package vs. West Virginia, Battle Stanford

Maryland got off to a sloppy start Monday in their Ludwig Field opener against No. 17 West Virginia, trailing 1-0 in just the seventh minute. Like their explosive second-half Friday against St. John’s though, the Terps offense came alive in the second half against West Virginia despite trailing 1-0 at halftime. John Stertzer got the rally started with a penalty kick goal in the 54th minute and headed in another for Maryland to take the lead just seven minutes later. Eight minutes after that, a crisp passing attack that brought the ball across the field from Alex Shinsky to Casey Townsend to Widner Saint-Cyr and then finally to Jereme Raley put the icing on the cake. The Terps won the match 3-1 to improve to 2-0-0 on the season.

Listen to the highlight package of the game here:

The Terps take on Stanford tonight in the first two weekend matches, as Maryland also plays Radford Sunday night.

Some notes for tonight’s game:

  • Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski is 298-123-29 at the helm in College Park. He needs just two wins to reach 300 victories as the Terps’ head coach.
  • All six of Maryland’s goals have come in the second-half. Maryland has outscored its opponents 6-1. John Stertzer leads the Terps in scoring with three goals.

You can listen to the action on WMUC Sports at 7:20. Josh Fendrick and Eric Morrow will be on the call.


No. 4 Terps Soccer Takes On No. 17 West Virginia

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After a shaky first-half Friday against St. John’s in which they were outshot 7-3, the Maryland offense took off. Patrick Mullins (1) scored the season’s first goal in the 51st minute before John Stertzer (1) followed up just four minutes later to give the Terps a 2-0 lead. In the 76th minute, senior forward Casey Townsend (1) scored his first goal of the year by heading in a corner kick from freshman midfielder Alex Shinsky and Maryland all but ended things, winning 3-0 over the Red Storm. In his first game in goal since 2009, Will Swaim recorded his sixth career shutout.

The Terps will play their first regular season game at Ludwig Field this year as No. 4 Maryland takes on No. 17 West Virginia at 7 p.m tonight. The Mountaineers are coming off a 1-0 victory over No. 11 Virginia and boast a very strong defense. West Virginia did not allow a shot on goal in their win Friday and the Cavaliers only tallied three total shots. Junior goalkeeper Pat Eavenson played in all 90 minutes in goal for his first career shutout. Their backline will be put to the test against a very talented scoring group for the Terps, who ranked as college soccer’s best offense last year and return plenty of offensive firepower this season.

Some more notes for tonight’s game:

  • Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski is 297-123-29 at the helm in College Park. He needs just three wins to reach 300 victories as the Terps’ head coach.
  • Maryland is 7-3-1 on its opening weekend since 2006. The Terps fell to No. 24 Michigan State 4-3 in overtime in their home opener last season before pounding Northeastern, 5-0, two days later.
  • Two players on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy will match up with each other tonight. West Virginia senior defender Raymon Gaddis will clash with Maryland senior forward Casey Townsend as the Mountaineers look to slow down the Terps’ offensive attack.
You can listen to the action on WMUC Sports at 6:45. I will be on the call with Eric Morrow.

Herrick Gone, But Terps Will Not Lack Offensive Firepower

With a veteran frontline featuring senior Jason Herrick and junior Casey Townsend, the Maryland Terrapins owned college soccer’s most prolific offense last season, scoring a NCAA-best 2.65 goals per game. The two strikers combined to score 20 of the Terps’ 61 goals. Even though fourth-ranked Maryland lost Herrick to the MLS SuperDraft (selected in the third round, 45th overall, by the Chicago Fire), they still return Townsend and 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year Patrick Mullins, who scored five goals and assisted on four others in 21 games last year. Mullins split time between the midfield and attack in 2010, but head coach Sasho Cirovski expects him to be heavily involved in his sophomore season as an attacker and leader for a talented but inexperienced Terps’ roster.

“I think Patrick is going to score a lot of goals,” said Cirovski. “He’s a strong player. His personality has really come out so now he’s become one of the more vocal leaders on the team. And I think I’ve seen really good chemistry with him and Casey and also with (reserve forwards) Matt Oduaran and Jordan (Cyrus). I think Patrick is going to be used primarily as a striker this year.”

After playing as a reserve last year due to nagging early-season injuries, Cirovski said Mullins is fit enough to start at forward this season besides Townsend, who flirted with the SuperDraft in the offseason before deciding to return to College Park for his senior year. Townsend had nine goals and five assists as a junior, finishing third on the Terps in points with 23. Cirovski felt he had a better junior season than the numbers suggest.

“Casey last year could have easily doubled his goal total, he was just that close,” Cirovski said. “He was a lot of times snake-bit. He did almost everything right and the ball would hit the goalpost, just barely miss, etc. I think that’s the part we’ve talked to Casey is. He does so much good work on both sides of the ball, defensively, holds balls off, offensively. But now it’s time he gets the finishing touch, putting the ball in the back of the net. To have a little more of a menacing mentality in his approach.”

As one of the top returning strikers in the nation, Townsend has seen an increased amount of attention nationally this summer. He garnered College Soccer News preseason All-American honors and was one of 42 players on the watch list for the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s highest individual award. He is also currently 15th in TopDrawerSoccer.com’s listing of the top 100 senior professional soccer prospects. However, Townsend has seemingly ignored all of the recognition, focusing on finishing goals and leading his teammates in wake of another season of National Championship expectations for Maryland.

“He’s the hardest-working guy on the field,” Mullins said. “He runs his butt off the entire time and that’s something that a lot of the younger guys and what I learned from my freshman year last year.”

“He’s in a different level in terms of comfort and maturity,” said Cirovski. “It took a little while in the spring for him to sort of grow into a leadership role because he hasn’t been accustomed to that, but now he’s very comfortable as a leader and he’s very comfortable with his decision to stay here.”

The Maryland Terrapins will be breaking in seven new starters in their first regular season game of the year tonight against St. John’s, including one at the forward position. They had college soccer’s deadliest offense in 2010 and believe sophomore Patrick Mullins will step in next to Casey Townsend this year to produce similar results. There will be a lot of differences between the 2011 Terps and last year’s version. Just don’t expect Maryland to lose any of their dynamic offensive firepower.


Maryland Terrapins Men’s Soccer Preview

There are few teams at any level of collegiate soccer that can lose seven starters, four of whom were named to an All-ACC team last season, and still be ranked No. 4 in the country the very next season. Such is the case though with the Maryland Terrapins, who need to replace players who combined to score 32 of the team’s 61 goals last season (52.5 percent).

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

The Terps return a mostly young and talented group of players highlighted by All-ACC senior forward Casey Townsend, 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year forward Patrick Mullins and defensive stalwarts Taylor Kemp and Alex Lee. Head coach Sasho Cirovski, entering his 19th season at Maryland, said his program, which has been to five College Cups and won two National Championships in the last nine years, has not lowered the bar with what they expect to achieve this season, even with a much different-looking squad this year compared to the team that bowed out to Michigan in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament last season.

“As usual, we have high expectations for our team this year in spite of losing a lot of talented players, three underclassmen and seven starters, our goal is still the same,” said Cirovski. “We want to win an ACC Championship and we want to win a National Championship.”

Charlie DeBoyace/The Diamondback

The Terps have set the bar for success in the program high, but they certainly have an impressive list of players who played smaller roles last year and will have the opportunity to see increased playing time and responsibility on the pitch in 2011.

“They were big-time players,” Townsend said of the departed Terps. “But I think people are going to be surprised at how good we are because we have a lot of players that haven’t played that are very good players that people just don’t know about.”

Some of those players figure to be midfielders John Stertzer (two goals and two assists in 21 games last season), Kaoru Forbess (three goals in 21 games last season), Helge Leikvang (one goal and one assist in 18 games last season), forward Matt Oduaran (one goal and one assist in 15 games last season) and defender London Woodberry (one goal and three assists in 14 games last season). Cirovski said that two players who redshirted due to injury last season, midfielder Widner Saint Cyr and forward Jordan Cyrus, will also play more prominent roles this season now that they are healthy.

They will be joined by a skilled freshman class that features goalkeeper Jordan Tatum, American U-18 National Team goalie Keith Cardona, Canadian U-17 National Team defender Parker Seymour and three College Soccer News top-35 recruits in defender Kyle Roach (No. 34) and midfielders Dan Metzger (No. 29) and Alex Shinsky (No. 2, No. 1 recruit according toTopDrawerSoccer.com). The incoming freshman class and crop of returning players give Cirovski the most flexibility to mix-and-match in the midfield.

“I think that’s the position we have the greatest depth in,” said Cirovski of the midfield. “I’d say we have seven or eight players capable of starting for the four positions. I think we’re going to have, probably, a lot more rotation in the midfield this year than in years past.”

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However, it may be a player who did not play a single minute last year who has the greatest impact on Maryland’s season. Will Swaim started 20 games in goal for Maryland from 2007 through 2009 before redshirting in 2010. Cirovski said he is the frontrunner to start at goalie for the team’s first regular season match on August 26 against St. John’s, a rematch of the double-overtime College Cup semifinal thriller in 2008 (a 1-0 Terps victory). His decision to return to College Park for a fifth year provides Maryland with an experienced keeper who knows the rigors of playing a full season in college soccer’s toughest conference.

“It was a great opportunity to play,” Swaim said. “After partnering with Zac (MacMath) for the past couple years I felt like I learned a lot. It’s also a great opportunity to go to school.”

Cirovski said that while Swaim will split time this season in net with Cardona and Tatum, his biggest concern right now at the position was getting Swaim back up to full speed after redshirting last season.

“I think his (Swaim’s) veteran leadership and knowledge of how we want to play is very important,” Cirovski said. “And Will’s good. Let’s not forget, he was our starting keeper in 2007. He’s a very good goalkeeper. We just want to get his game speed up as quickly as possible.”

Despite the unusually large number of new players who will be stepping into unfamiliar roles that come with a lot of responsibility this season, Cirovski said the team’s leadership, coming from many different sources, and ability to come together as one so far has been very impressive to see.

“All of these kids were here everyday together this summer,” said Cirovski. “I think there is a collective respect among the players that they’ve all given each other permission to lead. It’s a kind of a nice chemistry we have together within the group now.”

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That respect and combined leadership should be crucial for a team that could struggle at times as they wait to gel and get in sync with one another. A number of new players in the lineup could lead to some growing pains at times as the players get used to each other’s tendencies on the pitch. However, once they find that chemistry that can only grow with time, the Terps should continue to improve as the season goes along.

“We’ll be a team that gets better with time,” Townsend said. “It’s going to take a couple games to get used to playing with each other because we’re going to have a lot of new players on the field, and I think with time, we’ll get better and better and I hope we come together at the right time.”

There will be seven new starters in the lineup, but Maryland has a number of talented players who will get the first opportunity of their collegiate careers to make major contributions to the club this year. Even with a much-different looking team than last year, the goal is still the same. The Terps think they are just as good as any other team in the country.

“Last year we got to the quarterfinals and it felt like a disappointment,” Cirovski said. “Unfortunately, that’s the standard that we set for ourselves. Now, we had a great year last year. We won the ACC Championship and we played extremely well in the game that we lost but yet, I think the fans, myself, the players have a pretty empty feeling. We’re not afraid of the challenge we set for ourselves, or the bar we set for ourselves. I don’t think any of these kids would be happy with anything less than a trip to Alabama this year or coming back with an ACC title.”


Why Greivis Vasquez Is Special

Memphis is one of the cities I have visited during my vacation. The city is very unique. Beale Street always seems to have a buzz. The blues music that Memphis is famous for can be heard in almost store or restaurant and gives the city its own flavor. Right on the banks of the Mississippi River and once home to Elvis Presley, the city is proud of its distinct Southern feel.

Memphis is also the home of the NBA’s Grizzlies. As I was enjoying Memphis’ one of a kind Beale Street and blues music, I was thinking about what makes Greivis Vasquez, the Grizzlies’ second-year guard out of the University of Maryland, a special player.

Vasquez’s statistics and the awards he won are part of the reason why he will go down as one of the top five players of all-time at one of the nation’s most storied basketball programs. As a junior, when he really started to mature as a basketball player and leader on the court, Vasquez led the Terps with 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, five assists, 1.4 steals and 34.6 minutes per game, becoming the first Maryland player and only the sixth ACC player ever to lead his team in points, rebounds and assists. He was honored as a second-team All-ACC selection at the end of the season, the first time he would receive any kind of collegiate award.

After flirting briefly with the NBA Draft, Vasquez elected to return to Maryland for his senior season. He took his game to another level in his final season under legendary head coach Gary Williams, averaging 19.6 points, 6.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. Vasquez was the only player in the country to average at least 18 points and six rebounds per game. He was named the ACC Player of the Year and a second-team All-American while also winning the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard. Vasquez also became the only player in ACC history to register at least 2,000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds.

What gets lost in all those numbers and awards, though, is the unique pride, passion and flavor of Vasquez’s game on the court. He is special not only because he is a terrific player, but also because he plays the game the way it is supposed to be played. Vasquez loves basketball and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. In his first two years at Maryland, he struggled controlling those emotions. But once he channeled them the right way, Vasquez’s love for basketball took over. He always seemed to have a smile on his face and his pride on the court and positive energy helped provide great leadership to his teammates. His enjoyment while playing basketball was refreshing to watch in an era of robotic athletes. It led him to do stunts like this:

 

And also make him famous for his patented “shimmy” after hitting big shots:

 

The emotionless, robotic athletes seem to think it is their right to be drafted into the pros. Most athletes who are selected go up to the podium, shake the commissioner’s hand and the only emotion flashed is a smile. But when Greivis Vasquez was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft (28th overall), he flashed the emotion that shows that is actually an honor and a privilege to be drafted into a professional sports league:

 

There are so many athletes who put up great numbers early in the game or against weak opponents. But against the toughest competition or in the clutch, they crumble. Vasquez was the opposite. He often struggled against weak competition in low-pressure situations, but was always able to elevate his performance in the biggest contests against the top opponents. In his final two years at Maryland, he was the always the guy Williams wanted to get the ball to in dire moments late in games. At home against No. 3 North Carolina in his junior year, Vasquez scored 35 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists, recording just the third triple-double by a Maryland player in history and the school’s first since 1987.

 

 

In his senior year, again at home, this time against Clemson, a sluggish first-half had the Terps down by as many as 15 points. Vasquez led a furious second-half comeback and capped a 12-0 run to take the lead with a steal followed by an emphatic dunk.

 

In a tough late ACC road game against a charged-up Virginia Tech squad that had not lost at home all season. In a seesaw battle, Vasquez lifted Maryland to a double-overtime victory, scoring a career-high 41 points, becoming the first Terrapin player to reach 40 points in a game since Joe Smith in 1995 and the ninth ACC player ever to tally more than 40 points in a conference game.

 

 

 

In perhaps the most memorable game in his career, the Terps hosted No. 4 Duke on Vasquez’s Senior Night with the ACC regular season championship hanging in the balance, the final game he would play at the Comcast Center. Vasquez scored 20 points, including some crucial late-game buckets to secure a 79-72 Maryland victory and lead the Terps to a 13-3 ACC record and tie with the Blue Devils for the ACC regular season title.

 

Vasquez continued to thrive in the clutch in college basketball’s biggest stage, the NCAA Tournament. In the second-round, the fourth-seeded Terps battled the fifth-seeded Michigan State Spartans. With 12 minutes to go in the second half, Maryland trailed by 16 points. Vasquez sparked a late comeback. He scored nine of the Terps’ 11 points in the last two minutes to give Maryland an 83-82 lead before Korie Lucious’ buzzer-beating trey gave the Spartans the victory. Still, without Vasquez continuing to battle, the Terps would have been blown out before coming within one defensive possession of the Sweet Sixteen.

Vasquez’s ability to perform at his best when the pressure is at its hottest has continued into his time in the pros. In Game Four in the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Vasquez was called on in the first overtime because both starting point guard Mike Conley and backup guard O.J. Mayo had fouled out. He responded by drilling this game-tying three-pointer to beat the buzzer and send the game into double overtime:

 

Greivis Vasquez’s statistics and awards certainly make him a special player. But like the city he plays in, Vasquez’s game has a bit of flare, pride and passion that make him unique. The way he has fun playing the game of basketball and is able to channel his positive energy into leading his teammates, as well as his ability to elevate his performance in the biggest games and in the direst moments, add to what makes him a special basketball player. Greivis Vasquez’s numbers don’t tell the whole story. It’s that little bit extra that he brings to his teammates and to the game of basketball that paints the whole picture about why he is a great basketball player.


Bias’ Story Still Evokes Strong Emotions

It is difficult to have a true connection to athletes who we did not see play in person or on TV. We watch sports because we support our favorite teams, but also because only the greatest of all athletes create these special moments that become ingrained in our minds forever. All I have are stories and some very blurry video of Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot” in the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs or Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception against the Oakland Raiders in 1972. However, I have vivid memories and deep emotions that come from seeing Michael Phelps win eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Jordan’s “Final Shot” against the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals and Mike Piazza’s 2-run home run to give the Mets a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eight inning on September 21, 2001, the first game played in New York after the 9/11 attacks. I will never forget how those athletes made me feel so alive during those special moments.

It is the rare athlete though, who can spark such strong emotions from those who did not see him or her create those special times. I was not alive to see Len Bias play. All I have are people’s stories, some old articles and a few YouTube clips to give me an idea of the magnitude of the person and basketball star Bias was. But as a student at the University of Maryland, I felt his presence and the impact he had on my school from the moment I decided to send in my deposit.

A lot of people know Bias was a great basketball player. He twice led the ACC in scoring, finishing his collegiate career as Maryland’s alltime leading scorer with a total of 2,149 points (he is now third behind Juan Dixon and Greivis Vasquez). The well-rounded, 6-foot-8-inch forward was a two-time All-American and is also one just eight players in ACC history to be named ACC Player of the Year twice. Only two Maryland basketball players, John Lucas in 1976 and Joe Smith in 1995, have been picked higher than Bias in the NBA draft.

However, it is plays like this one that spark the same emotion from its viewers now than it did on February 21, 1986, a date on which Bias had 35 points to lead the Terps to a 77-72 overtime victory over then-No. 1 North Carolina.

Plays like that inspire the kind of wonder and awe at how a player as big and strong as Bias had such a pure jump shot, speed and agility. Whenever I watch that highlight, I understand what Bias meant to Maryland fans during that time. I can feel the pride Terp fans had, to have a player of Bias’ caliber on their side instead of playing in the different shades of blue of Maryland’s most hated enemies. I can feel the sense of hope, the feeling that the Terps had finally found the light at the end of the tunnel, and that they were emerging out of Duke and North Carolina’s shadow. I can feel the joy that people must have had seeing the versatility in Bias’ game, seeing how he could beat his opponents in so many different ways and how he displayed so much passion in the process. Bias was so good in fact, that in 2003, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe that Bias and Michael Jordan were the two most influential players during his time at Duke.

“There have been two opposing players who have really stood out: Michael Jordan and Len Bias,” Krzyzewski said. “Len was an amazing athlete with great competitiveness. My feeling is that he would have been one of the top players in the NBA. He created things. People associate the term `playmaking’ with point guards. But I consider a playmaker as someone who can do things others can’t, the way Jordan did. Bias was like that. He could invent ways to score, and there was nothing you could do about it. No matter how you defended him, he could make a play.”

There is no doubt that Len Bias was a special player, and seemingly headed to the perfect situation to play besides Larry Bird, Danny Ainge, Kevin McHale, Bill Walton and Robert Parish with the Boston Celtics. There is just no telling how great he would have become.

But Bias has probably touched more lives with the way his story unfolded than he would have had he enjoyed a Hall of Fame NBA career. The numbers are impossible to count, but there are so many people who either stopped or never started using drugs because the dangers of drugs became clear at the moment Bias passed away. If drugs could kill big, healthy, strong Len Bias, they could kill anyone. These numbers are only enhanced by Bias’ mother, Lonise Bias, who became a motivational speaker after her son’s death. She has told her son’s story to thousands of kids, stressing the importance of making good decisions and how even abusing drugs one time can be fatal.

Len Bias’ story sends chills down my spine every single time. It is a true tragedy. He had everything he had ever desired, the chance to play in the NBA, right in his back pocket and he threw it away with one bad decision. He died on June 19, 1986, 25 years ago yesterday, yet the moments he created first because of his play, and then because of his downfall are ones that still bring out strong emotions in people. Bias is that rare athlete that multiple generations can connect to, even if they did not see him play. The amount of lives Bias has touched throughout the world cannot be counted, but his story shows us just how quickly everything can be taken away, just how precious life is. It is powerful and people have been, and will continue to feel the pain of Bias’ tragedy and what might have been forever.