By Joel Delgado ’12 MS ’17
When FIU travels to Maryland this weekend to kick off the season, it won’t be FIU quarterback Jake Medlock’s first trip to College Park.
He was there when the Panthers took on the Terrapins in 2010, watching from the sidelines as a backup freshman quarterback in their loss. Fast forward almost three years and Medlock — now a redshirt junior — will be the one leading the Panther offense against Maryland on Aug. 31, where they hope to upend the Terps and return to campus with a win in hand.
This will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two programs, with Maryland winning the previous three matchups in 2006, 2007 and 2010. But after a long offseason that has seen a number of different changes and upheavals to the roster and coaching personnel, Medlock feels more than ready to take the field on Saturday.
“We’re excited, this whole team is,” Medlock said. “Everyone is locked in and we’re excited to get up to Maryland and play some ball.”
The Panthers will need to be focused if they want to pull off an upset in FIU head coach Ron Turner’s debut, especially going up against a Maryland defense that ranked 21st in the nation last year. Despite losing six starters from that strong defensive unit, they are still returning enough talent, such as junior linebacker Cole Farrand, to cause problems for opposing offenses.
“They’re a great defense that loves to bring the pressure, we just have to be ready for them,” Medlock said.
The prospect of coming home with a victory excites the Panthers, and Medlock is hoping they can deliver.
“A win would be great for this team. It’s going to be a big crowd. I remember from my freshman year: they’re loud,” Medlock said of Maryland’s fans. “We’re ready for it. I think we can handle the crowd, we can handle all the pressure.”
Turner added, “Any time you beat a team of that caliber it means a ton. It would be huge confidence boost to our guys. They are a very good program, a very good football team. It would be huge.”
Cadillac Ranch – Miami, the All-American bar and grill located at 11735 Sherri Lane Street (The Palms at Town & Country), will be hosting the first Official Watch Party of the season for the FIU vs. Maryland game. Festivities will begin at noon with the game itself scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start.