It's not too often a team will open up conference play in a stadium its third-year coach has never been to. But that's exactly what Ohio State faces Saturday when it travels to Maryland for its Big Ten opener.
"I've never been to this stadium," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. "This will be an atmosphere they've been working on this one, I imagine, for a while. This will be a big‑time atmosphere."
Byrd Stadium, the home of the Terrapins, has a capacity of only 54,000 — a little less than half of Ohio Stadium.
But while the Buckeyes insist Saturday's matchup is just another game, it may mean a little extra for the team standing on the home sideline.
“It might be a little different," Ohio State senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said. "They’re saying it’s one of the biggest games in Maryland history, so whatever that means.”
Last week, Maryland won its inaugural Big Ten game with a 37-15 rout of Indiana — a team which beat previously 18th-ranked Missouri the week before.
But the Terrapins won that game on the road. Saturday against the Buckeyes, they'll be in front of their home crowd. Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said on Tuesday's Big Ten coaches teleconference he expects it to be a sellout, too.
“Communication is key," starting guard Pat Elflein said. "Depending on what defense they’re running, you have to communicate that because that’s the very first thing to a play is communicating what front it is. We’re on the road, it’s a big game so we’ll definitely have to communicate if we want to get our job done which we will."
Ohio State has played in plenty of big games in recent years, but for the Terrapins it's been a bit of a different story. This year, however, Maryland is off to an early 4-1 start and has hopes of playing for a conference title. Its only loss was a three-point defeat to West Virginia in Week 3.
But with a tough test to open league play for the Buckeyes, does Saturday's game have a different feel to it?
“Different feel? Not really. I think we come into every game with the same mindset," defensive end Joey Bosa said. "Every team is important, every game, you’ve gotta take it one game at at time. They’ve been talking about how it’s the biggest game in their school history or whatever, but every game’s a big game for us.”