UMTerps.com refers to it as College Lacrosse’s Greatest Rivalry. Go ahead and try to argue with that. Good luck! Make no mistake, the Terrapin verses Blue Jay rivalry has historically been the pride of college lacrosse. Wherever you grow up, if you know lacrosse, you know this game matters.
Around the East Coast, it’s often referred to as “The Game,” and when the University of Maryland Terrapins square off against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, the lacrosse world stops to watch.
College Park and Johns Hopkins’ Baltimore, Maryland, location fall a solid 30 or so miles apart, but like the Tobacco Road Rivalry, it leaves a community divided. The state of Maryland knows this game matters and so does the internet, it’s not hard to find lacrosse fans and sportswriters alike all taking a crack at wrapping words around the significance of a very heated rivalry that’s existed since 1895.
Even if you grew up in it, the rivalry is still much larger than you probably understand.
It’s a rivalry over 100 years old, but one that is no longer burning – except on the lacrosse field. As far as both of these schools are concerned, that’s really all that matters!
The private vs. public school feud is at it’s best with these two. In over 46 seasons, from 1924-1970, either Hopkins or Maryland won the USLIA championship a combined total of 24 times, and this is including when they shared the title in 1959 and 1967. Since JHU competes in NCAA DIII for all other sports, the core of this passionate competition lives in Men’s and Women’s lacrosse. Both teams have squared off over a hundred times and a couple of the games even helped decide which school would represent the United States in the Olympics!
In 1932, the Blue Jays beat the Terps both times in the regular season. The significance came when the two met in the “post-season” for a chance to represent in the USA in the Olympic games. Hopkins went on to win 2 of the 3 games they played in exhibition against Canada in front of 75,000 + in LA’s Memorial Coliseum.
Last year the Jays took the victory, 7-4, but Maryland got the W the year before. It’s a back and forth war still to this day. Hopkins claims the record is 69-40-1, but the Terps don’t recognize the seven Blue Jays’ wins before lacrosse was a varsity sport. Big shock that these two can’t agree on how big the lead is.
Dick Edell, former head coach of Maryland had to say this about The Game,
To get the juices flowing before the game, [we'd tell the Maryland] kids that it was the blue-collar guys against the future executives—that this was their only chance to get them before they got into the real world. Plus, you have all the kids who came from the same high school, or worked the camps together, so there was that closeness that you have to live with for the other 364 days, no matter who wins.”
After 110 games, it’s just as intense in 2014 as it has been for years past. Sports Illustrated has gone as far as comparing the Maryland/Hopkins lacrosse rivalry to what the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry is for football. Both teams have had their streaks over the years, and the tilt is still leaning toward Hopkins. Maryland has the better ranking this year and in theory it’s “their turn” to win.
The battle between these two has never weakened over the years, throughout the decades this has been it’s own mini championship. From back in the 30’s for the chance to represent team USA, to 1987 when Dave Pietramala and company beat the #1 Terps in the Final Four to move on to win the National Championship, to now, where Petro has been the head coach of the Jays for 14 successful seasons, continuing to lead the charge against Maryland. When speaking, he had this to say to Inside Lacrosse about playing the Terrapins,
Everybody knew each other; we had all played together at some point or another. It was a fierce, intense game and there was no love lost on the field.”
From a man who’s seen many sides of this rivalry, it’s probably pretty tough to speak so kindly of the enemy. He went on to tell USA Today,
At certain points, you want to say it’s another game, but this one has just a little bit more. It’s not just because it’s two in-state teams, but a rivalry really becomes significant when teams compete in important games. There’s a lot of water under that bridge with us.”
This Saturday, it’s the Battle of Maryland Round 111. The game is held in Byrd Stadium in College Park, but the Jays have come out victorious the last 5 times playing there.
This year’s #3 Maryland (9-1) vs. #8 Johns Hopkins (6-3) is a treat, it’s not every year that both teams are in the Top 10 heading in to the game.
Watch the battle for yourself this Saturday at 2pm est on ESPN U and ESPN 3 online. This is one for years to come, and moving forward the stakes are even higher as both teams are moving into the Big 10 for lacrosse and will begin to compete against each other now in the same conference. Lacrosse gods be praised.