By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Marshall and Maryland might never have faced each other before, but the head coaches are no strangers.
Marshall’s Doc Holliday and Maryland’s Randy Edsall have known each other for a long time. They played against each other — Holliday at West Virginia and Edsall at Syracuse — and eventually recruited against at each other as assistant coaches at the respective universities.
Two days after Christmas, the two acquaintances will meet as head coaches for the first time. Maryland was officially announced as the opponent for Marshall in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md. Kickoff will be 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN.
Maryland had been heavily rumored, even weeks before the Herd (9-4) accepted its invitation Saturday afternoon. The announcement was not made official until the final BCS rankings were released Sunday night.
The Military Bowl had the last pick among the ACC’s record 11 bowl-eligible teams.
“We are looking forward to a first-rate matchup,” Military Bowl president and executive director Steve Beck said. “Maryland has built plenty of momentum and finished this season strong, while Marshall features a high-powered offense. We’re excited about this game being one of our best ever.”
Holliday and Edsall are familiar, first as players when Holliday was a linebacker and Edsall a quarterback, then as coaches.
“I remember Randy well. We both started coaching around the same time (the late 1970s), when we were recruiting against each other as young guys in our 20s,” Holliday said on a conference call. “We coached against each other during my days at N.C. State and — he wasn’t at Maryland yet, but at Syracuse and Connecticut. He has been very successful wherever he has been. His teams are always extremely physical, extremely well coached and extremely tough.”
Edsall said the Herd’s style is a reflection of its head coach.
“They are very talented on both sides of the ball,” he said. “They have excellent skill players and great linemen. They are what you would expect out of a Doc Holliday team.”
This will be Maryland’s last game as a member of the ACC before switching to the Big 10.
Maryland (7-5, 3-5 ACC) is the first repeat entrant into the Military Bowl, having won 51-20 over East Carolina in 2010. This is the sixth year for the bowl, and the ACC has won all three of its appearances, led by Jim Grobe-led Wake Forest’s victory over Navy in the inaugural 2008 game.
Marshall and the Terrapins have two common opponents: Florida International (Marshall defeated FIU 48-10; Maryland won 43-10) and Virginia Tech (Marshall lost 29-21 in triple overtime; Maryland won 27-24 in overtime).
The Terrapins started the season with a four-game winning streak, capped by a 37-0 victory over West Virginia. But that all came to a decisive crash with a 63-0 thrashing at the hands of ACC champion Florida State, which will play SEC champion Auburn for the national championship.
Maryland has lost five of its last eight, but closed the season with the win at Virginia Tech and a 41-21 win at N.C. State.
Senior C.J. Brown continues a theme of dual-threat quarterbacks to face the Herd this season. He has completed 152 of 258 passes for 2,045 yards and 11 touchdowns while throwing six interceptions, but also has 538 rushing yards on 146 carries and leads the Terps with 12 touchdowns.
Maryland has been without wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long since Oct. 19, when both were injured against Wake Forest. Long broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg, and Diggs broke his fibula, also in his right leg.
In seven games, Diggs had 34 catches for 587 yards and three touchdowns, while Long had 32 for 489 and a score. Diggs also averaged 23.4 yards on 12 kick returns.
The Military Bowl, presented by Northrop Grumman, will donate at least $100,000 to the USO and provide complimentary tickets for active-duty military personnel and their families.
Tickets for the Military Bowl are on sale now at militarybowl.org, with prices starting at $20.
— E-mail: gfauber@
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