The school released its 2002 schedule yesterday. Coming off an appearance in the Orange Bowl, the Terps will play a school-record 13 games.
The defending ACC champion Terps return 16 starters and 44 letter-winners from the past season's 10-2 squad.
The opener is the first meeting between the Terps and Irish, who have a new coach in Tyrone Willingham. The Aug. 31 game, scheduled to be televised nationally on ABC, matches 1996 as the earliest start to a season in school history.
The Terps are also scheduled to play in front of a national cable television audience on Thursday, Oct. 17, when they play host to Georgia Tech and its first-year coach, Chan Gailey. That game will be on ESPN.
Maryland's 2002 schedule includes five teams that advanced to bowl games in 2001: Florida State, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Clemson and North Carolina.
Should the Terps advance to a bowl, they would play 14 games.
This season marks the first year Division I-A teams can play 12-game regular-season schedules that do not include exempt contests. Maryland is allowed a 13th regular-season contest because the Kickoff Classic is considered an exempt game.
Also, the NCAA announced yesterday that Maryland recorded the second-largest home attendance increase for all Division I-A football institutions when compared with 2000 statistics.
The Terps averaged 43,564 fans in seven home dates, a 27.6 percent increase over last year's attendance average (34,129). Maryland's 2001 home attendance total of 304,953 included the fourth-largest crowd in stadium history (52,462, vs. Clemson).
Said athletic director Debbie Yow: "Coach Friedgen and I thank our fans for their attendance and enthusiastic support, especially at the last home game against Clemson when they packed Byrd Stadium."
Date Opponent TV
Aug. 31 Notre Dame-a ABC
Sept. 7 Akron
Sept. 14 Florida State
Sept. 21 Eastern Michigan
Sept. 28 Troy State
Oct. 5 at West Virginia
Oct. 17 Georgia Tech ESPN
Oct. 27 at Duke
Nov. 2 at North Carolina
Nov. 9 N.C. State
Nov. 16 at Clemson
Nov. 23 at Virginia
Nov. 30 Wake Forest a-at East Rutherford, N.J. Note: TV for other games TBA