Terps, fans enjoy Foster Farms experience


The lounge at the Hyatt Regency had the feel of a Baltimore sports bar, fans clad in Maryland gear spread around the rectangular bar shouting, clapping and reacting to each foul, made basket or bad call during the overtime sessions of the Terps' basketball game against Michigan State.


This provided a homey feel for the Maryland football fans that made the trip to watch the Terps compete against Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl and was part of what seemed to be a nice getaway for fans in attendance at various events leading up to the game Tuesday night.

"It's just a really good experience," said former Maryland football player John Langton, a Baltimore native who arrived in San Francisco on Dec. 27. "Maryland's doing a great job hosting a great experience out here."

The tailgates and game came later on Tuesday.

In the days leading up, fans had the opportunity to attend events such as a pep rally for both teams in Union Square, at which the bands for both Maryland and Stanford took turns performing.

Terps coach Randy Edsall, Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson and three Terps players in attendance were recognized at the event, with Edsall and kicker Brad Craddock speaking briefly in front of a sizable crowd that included fans from both schools.

Maryland also hosted a VIP reception Monday night during which fans like Langton and friend Bob Evans had a chance to interact with Anderson, Maryland president Wallace Loh and other Terps figures.

"The big reason I came was San Francisco," said Evans, a Lanham native who graduated from Maryland and lives in Scaggsville. "I've been at the airport twice but had never been to San Francisco. That was the main reason. My wife and I wanted to see San Francisco. So when we heard they were coming here, we said, 'Yeah, we're going to go.'

"And we stayed up with the team up in San Francisco, and it was neat. You're riding down the elevator next to somebody that's six inches taller than you and you know they're an athlete. … It's neat seeing everybody, and it's neat seeing some of the fans."

A Maryland official said the Terps sold around 2,000 tickets to the game, a modest number after close to 20,000 Maryland fans attended the Military Bowl matchup between the Terps and Marshall at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis last year.

However, the fans that made the trip enjoyed the different football-related festivities while also having a chance to travel around San Francisco and its surrounding areas to see attractions like Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods National Monument and Fort Point.

The trip created similar opportunities for Maryland players.

"Being around the football team and knowing the young men like I do, I would say half, if not more, have never been on a trip west of the Mississippi," said Anderson, a San Francisco native. "And for them to be able to go to a great bowl like this that the host city is San Francisco — and then they're opening their arms to do everything they can to make these young men have a great experience — and then for them to go down to Santa Clara and play in the 49ers' new facility, which is probably one of the best professional facilities in the country, that's my excitement."

The team practiced at Laney College in Oakland in the days preceding the game before going through a walk-through at Levi's Stadium on Monday, and enjoyed weather that was consistently clear and around 55 degrees.

Outside of practice, Maryland took a team trip to Alcatraz, ate dinner at Perry's San Francisco, went on a cable car tour around San Francisco and volunteered at the St. Anthony's Dining Room, which has provided meals to the less fortunate since 1950.


"I'm not expecting a blowout or anything, but hopefully we'll have a very competitive, good football game now that they find a way to win," said Langton, who said he has been to around seven Maryland bowl games dating back to the Terps' Orange Bowl appearance in 2002. "Stanford, like most of the pundits say, are down a little bit this year. But they're still Stanford, and it would be nice to get a win."