The Orioles trumpeted, "It can be done in '61." It was the year that Mike Ditka and Fran Tarkenton were NFL rookies, Floyd Patterson knocked out Ingemar Johansson, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs, Bob Cousy and Bill Russell were playing for the Celtics and Navy beat Notre Dame in football for the second straight year.
John F. Kennedy checked in as the country's youngest president. Paul Hornung, the NFL's leading scorer, checked into the Army. And "West Side Story" checked in with an Oscar.
The Orioles couldn't do it, checking out in third place.
This was the year -- the only year ever -- that Maryland beat Penn State. The Terps then lost 24 straight before tying the Nittany Lions last year. Tomorrow, once more, Maryland will be looking for its first win since 1961.
"Beating them wasn't the big deal that it would be now because Maryland hadn't played Penn State that much over the years," said Dick Shiner, then a sophomore making his first start as the Terps' quarterback. "But it was definitely an upset."
Penn State was a 4 1/2 -point favorite. Both teams were 4-2, but Maryland had lost two straight to North Carolina and South Carolina, while the Nittany Lions, despite losses to Miami and Army, were No. 1 in the East and among the nation's top 10.
Coach Tom Nugent, who had 19 players from Pennsylvania on his Maryland squad, warned the Terps that Penn State "will run on you all day, but beat you with passes." He was concerned that Penn State would exploit the weakness in the left side of the line that the two Carolinas had exposed.
"I think we'd better stop reading in the newspapers how great we are and start looking for performance instead of potential," Nugent said.
Penn State's quarterback was Galen Hall, now a graduate assistant on the staff. Joe Paterno, the backfield coach under head man Rip Engle, said Hall was like "another coach on the field." Paterno's current counterpart, Maryland's Joe Krivak, was in his first season as head coach at Madonna High in Weirton, W. Va.
The Terps' star was senior end Gary Collins, who went on to a distinguished career as a receiver and punter with the Cleveland Browns. Collins went into the game needing only 9 yards to break the Atlantic Coast Conference record for receiving yardage.
Maryland's Byrd Stadium was crammed with 39,000 homecoming fans, its largest gathering since Queen Elizabeth was the added attraction for the Terps-North Carolina game in 1957. In those days, all the Maryland players except the quarterback played offense and defense. Penn State had such great depth that it used the two-platoon system.
"It was all Maryland the first half," said Shiner, who later played 11 years in the NFL for six teams. "We did almost everything right. From then on, we held on to win. They were wearing us out. We were glad to see the game end."
The Terps jumped to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and were ahead at the half, 21-6. Penn State charged back, and its depth began to tell.
Collins, plagued by a virus, gulped oxygen whenever he was on the sideline. Tackle Dave Crossman became sick on the field late in the game and another tackle, Roger Shoals, according to The Sun's account, "had to drag himself off the ground in sheer exhaustion at the end of the best performance of his career."
Shiner passed and ran brilliantly, finishing with three touchdown passes. Late in the first half, he went out with a bruised leg, returning in the fourth quarter in relief of the struggling former starter, Richie Novak. The Terps were slipping into reverse, and the crowd gave Shiner a thunderous ovation.
The key play occurred with less than two minutes remaining. With Penn State on Maryland's 4-yard line, Harry Butsko sacked Hall for a 5-yard loss, extinguishing the Lions' final threat. Maryland won, 21-17.
Scouts from seven NFL teams left the stadium raving about Collins, who caught six passes for 80 yards and a score. One scout said, "I'd be willing to give that boy a blank check right now."
In the press box, a Pennsylvania writer who had picked the Lions' Bob Mitinger as an end among his All-America choices changed his mind. Collins had so thoroughly outshone Mitinger that the writer wired the selection agency with the Terps' receiver as his new choice.