Only 10 players from Maryland trotted out on the field for the first series of the opener on Saturday against Texas at FedEx Field. The space for the right guard was left open as the Terrapins offensive assumed the formation. Then quarterback Kasim Hill just started making the music box run out.
Texas refused the penalty for delaying the game.
It was a tribute to Jordan McNair, the freshman offensive lineman from Maryland who died in June. Two weeks after a strenuous heat stroke during a team workout, the school was in turmoil. It was just one of the ways Team McNair remembered on Saturday.
Before kickoff, captains Taivon Jacobs and Brett Kulka carried McNair's # 79 jersey into midfield and Ellis McKennie waved a red flag with McNair's number on the sideline. The stadium announcer called for a moment of silence.
"Jordan will be a terp forever," the spokesman said at the end of the tribute, and Maryland's players trotted off the field to prepare for their first series. The first ride ended with a touchdown, a 28-yard run by Jeshaun Jones, and Maryland went on to anger No. 23 Texas, 34-29.
McNair's death and subsequent fallout has shaken College Park – Terrapin's Coach DJ Durkin remains on an administrative path and running separate investigations into the death of McNair and the broader culture of the program – all throwing a scary blanket while Maryland on the Saturday is warmed up. University President Wallace D. Loh, wearing sunglasses with a red shirt and khakis, stood beside the sideline, pumping his fist as the school's song played. In addition to Loh, athletic director Damon Evans, who wore black pants and a purple shirt, fought to make the rounds with athletic department employees.
In the arena of the stadium Texas fans were in droves. Burnt orange was the predominant color, with some fans donning cowboy hats and waving the Texas national flag as they sought their place to their places.
A Maryland merchandiser selling red and black t-shirts, stuffed turtles, and footballs bearing the school's logo has gone unnoticed by most Terrapins before the kickoff. "Fear the Turtle?" A fan shouted at a group of Texas fans lining up at a concession stand.
"Where is your coach?" One of the Longhorns fans answered.
Durkin was out of the program In the past three weeks, Matt Canada took on the role of interim coach eight months after being hired as the team's offensive coordinator. Canada wore everything black and was in the field on Saturday for the duration of the warm-up as he led the offensive of the new Terrapin and at the same time made the rounds with other units.
This is part of his extended responsibilities, and he made one In the preloading phase, he rounded some of his defenders, including starting-off Antoine Brooks.
Also in the game, his offense hummed early – Maryland won in the first quarter 181-49 – but not before McNair was honored.
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