This is the third season that the Susquehannock High School graduate has been the head football coach at University of Maryland.
This is the third season that the Susquehannock High School graduate has been the head football coach at University of Maryland. (Jessica Hill)

This is Penn State country.

There's little doubt about that.

However, there's another major college football program that is actually 30 miles closer to York than State College.

Yes, we're talking about the Maryland Terrapins -- the 4-0 Maryland Terrapins. The Maryland Terrapins who are coached by Susquehannock High School graduate Randy Edsall.

Edsall has taken his fair share of lumps over his first two years at College Park, Md., compiling a record of just 6-18. A big-name columnist from Washington (John Feinstein) even called for Edsall's dismissal.

Before he even coached his first practice at Maryland, Edsall came under fire for the way he left UConn. He failed to meet face to face with his UConn players to tell them he was leaving. It's a move he later admitted was a mistake.

In his first season with the Terps, he suffered through a mass exodus of players from the laid-back Ralph Friedgen era. Those players simply did not fit in with Edsall's more hard-nosed style of coaching.

And in his second season at Maryland, he was forced to play a linebacker at quarterback for the final four games after an epic series of injuries at that position.

That brings us to 2013 -- a year that many pundits said was a make-or-break season for Edsall.

Right now, Edsall's Terps are making it in a big way. The roster is now stocked with players who have bought into Edsall's system. They've outscored their four foes by a whopping 159-41 margin. That includes an impressive 37-0 pounding of West Virginia on Saturday before more than 55,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. That's the same WVU program that had abused Maryland seven straight times and outscored the Terps, 225-141.


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Look, no one is saying this Maryland team is a national championship team, or even an Atlantic Coast Conference title contender, but the Terps certainly appear good enough to go to a bowl game. In fact, when looking at the rest of Maryland's schedule, only two games appear to be near-certain losses -- at No. 8 Florida State on Oct. 5 and at home vs. No. 3 Clemson on Oct. 26.

Maryland's other foes are Virginia, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College and North Carolina State -- none of them ranked. Does that mean Maryland will finish 10-2? Almost certainly not, but seven to nine victories seems likely.

That's quite a step up from 6-18. It should give Maryland some serious momentum for its first Big Ten campaign in 2014. And it should make for a very interesting matchup with Penn State on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Beaver Stadium.

Steve Heiser is sports editor for The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdis patch.com.