COLLEGE PARK -- Debbie Yow, the Maryland athletic director, recounted a conversation her husband had with a neighbor the other day.
"Bill and I live about 2 1/2 miles from here," Yow said. "He was talking with a neighbor, and the man said he was going to a Maryland football game. He hadn't been to a game here in 10 years. For a long time, he wasn't excited about the team. Now, he's excited."
That neighbor was among the sellout crowd of 48,055 at Byrd Stadium for last night's game against West Virginia. It was the largest crowd at Byrd since Nov. 29, 1985, when 49,950 watched the Terps beat Virginia. Maryland drew 32,215 for its home opener, an upset of North Carolina that heightened interest in coach Mark Duffner's team.
A conservative estimate had Maryland making an additional $200,000 at the gate compared to its take from the North Carolina game.
"The football team has had the same impact on morale around here that Coach [Gary] Williams and his basketball team's success had last winter," Yow said.
Maryland's non-conference schedules are firming up.
Temple coach Ron Dickerson said last week that his Owls will come to Byrd Stadium in 1997, when West Virginia makes its next visit to College Park. The Terps go to West Virginia next year, and will play Northern Illinois and Alabama-Birmingham at Byrd Stadium.
NEXT FOR MARYLAND
Site: Byrd Stadium, College Park
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Yesterday: Beat Army, 23-21.