Surging Stanford Faces Maryland In Santa Clara
The Cardinal and the Terrapins have never met on the football field before. That will change on December 30, 2014.
It’s not the Rose Bowl. And they’re not Nebraska.
For the third straight season, Stanford Football faces a Big-10 opponent in a bowl game. But instead of Pasadena, the Cardinal will be in more familiar territory. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will host the Cardinal and the Maryland Terrapins in the Foster Farms Bowl. The game kicks off at 7:00pm on December 30, 2014.
Stanford and Maryland each finished with identical 7-5 records, but the similarities between the two programs seem to end there. While the Cardinal were penciled in as a potential playoff contender at the start of the season, the Terrapins flew under the radar of expectations. Stanford has enjoyed an extended run as a Pac-12 power, while the Terrapins are wrapping up their rookie season in the Big 10. Maryland will have to travel over 2,800 miles to get to Santa Clara. Stanford will have to drive only 13 miles from campus.
The Cardinal’s season was largely defined by critical setbacks against U$C, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Oregon, and Utah. But while many Stanford fans may look upon a bowl game in Santa Clara with disappointment, head coach David Shaw has a more upbeat outlook on his team’s situation. “If we can’t play in the Pac-12 championship game in that stadium, let’s play in the next bowl game in that stadium,” Shaw told the media on Sunday.
The "Foster Farms Bowl" will mark Stanford’s sixth-straight bowl appearance, while Maryland will be headed to their third bowl in the last six years. The Terrapins (7-5, 4-4 Big 10) started their first Big 10 season with four wins in their first five games. During conference play, they knocked off Penn State and Michigan on the road.
But against the Big 10’s upper-tier teams, Maryland was overmatched. The Terps were overwhelmed by Ohio State (52-24), crushed at Wisconsin (52-7), and outplayed by Michigan State (37-15). And in their regular season finale, Maryland turned a 35-10 second-quarter lead into a 41-38 loss to Rutgers.
"I thought our kids played hard all year long and gave everything that they had,” Maryland head coach Randy Edsall told the media during a conference call Sunday afternoon. “To be able to have this opportunity extended to us from what we did on the field, it goes to show that the work that they put in was worthwhile, and they're getting rewarded for it."
Santa Clara was the Cardinal’s reward for finishing their regular season with back-to-back wins, a 38-17 win over cal and a 31-10 drubbing of UCLA. WR Ty Montgomery exited the Cal game with a shoulder injury; on Sunday, Shaw considered him questionable for the bowl game. Meanwhile, not much is questionable about Stanford’s defense, which has held opponents to 16 points per game, second-best in the country. The Terps are 107th in total offense.
Lately, Maryland has gained attention more for messy uniforms than for actual football, but the Terps have weapons in all phases of the game. Fifth-year senior QB C.J. Brown is also the team’s leading rusher. Senior DE Andre Monroe’s next sack will put him atop Maryland’s record book in that category. Sophomore CB William Likely has six interceptions. Junior P/PK Brad Craddock made his first 18 field goals before missing a game-tying attempt late against Rutgers; his longest of the year came from 57 yards out.
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