After a Navy game in the afternoon, it’s a quick shot over to Landover for the evening tilt in Byrd Stadium. With only a few minutes to spare before kickoff, the parking situation on the Maryland campus is an absolute abomination. One narrow road leads into the parking lots and traffic backs up for miles as the hapless, yellow vested attendants direct traffic into a cluster of steel chaos. A line of gridlock stands between me and kickoff, and I’m not pleased about it.

After an agonizing 30 minute wait behind an endless line of tail lights, I pull into the first lot I am able, gladly forking over $17 in exchange for the freedom of walking. With kickoff a few ticks away, I quite literally sprint towards the stadium, snatching up a quick pair of tickets along the way for $30 apiece. Energy swells as I near the stadium, Terps fans rife with anticipation for their biggest home game of the year against Big 10 conference leader Michigan State.


With cell phone service completely jammed, it takes a few minutes to locate my sister. In town for work, she’d reluctantly agreed to hit another game with me this year, despite the mercury dipping will into the 20’s on a frigid Old Line State night. Any hopes of entering the stadium quickly were soon dashed at the entrance gates, as a mob of fans stack up at the woefully understaffed iron gates. It takes another fifteen minutes to simply enter the stadium, the entire process backed up by a measly pair of security personnel, insistent upon the usual foolish rigamarole of frisking, patting and groping.

Put simply, the traffic and crowd control at Maryland is an absolute disaster. Easily the worst I have seen in all my travels. They have some serious work to do to better equip themselves for the task of Big 10 football.

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Despite the ambitious 51,802 turnout, Terps fans are quickly dismayed by the sound thrashing they receive on the field. They cough the ball up four times, victims of an anemic offense that manages only 6 yards rushing the entire contest. Michigan State fans erupt in celebration at each foible, our section in particular decked in a sea of green coats and winter hats. The Spartan faithful have turned out in droves for the contest, occupying nearly four full sections of the stadium, their boisterous cheering smothering the lifeless Terrapin crowd. Sparty tears up 482 yards of total offense, perfectly split between rushing and passing and asserting their dominance over the Big 10 newcomers. In the end, Michigan State rolls to an easy 37-15 victory, keeping their conference championship hopes alive.

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Special thanks to my sister for coming along on another frigid adventure this year, and perhaps next year in California we can catch something a bit more suitable to your climatic preferences.


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