COLLEGE PARK — Ralph Friedgen sat in a booth above the field at Byrd Stadium, the architect of a Rutgers' offense that led the Scarlet Knights to a stunning 41-38 victory over Maryland on Saturday.
Hired as Rutgers' offensive coordinator this year following a three-season hiatus from coaching, Friedgen's offense produced 491 yards and helped the Scarlet Knights come back after the Terps took a 35-10 lead late in the second quarter.
This was Friedgen's first time coaching in College Park since he was fired by Maryland in 2010 after 10 seasons coaching the Terps.
"Well, obviously it's a special win for me, but I think it's an even bigger win for our program," Friedgen told reporters after the game. "We win the bowl game and we have a chance to have eight wins. The whole thing about Maryland, to me, it's ancient history."
The Maryland alum was critical of the Terps during a radio interview in 2011, saying he had burned his degree from the university.
While Friedgen downplayed the significance of Saturday's game, Rutgers players were aware of its meaning to their offensive coordinator.
"It is great to get a win for coach Friedgen back here at Maryland," said quarterback Gary Nova, who finished 28-for-42 for 347 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Led by Friedgen, the Scarlet Knights scored touchdowns on four straight possessions after falling behind, 35-10. Rutgers then added a late field goal that was the difference.
"I said, 'I'm going to play it a lot looser in the second half, so we're either going to get beat real, real bad or we're going to come back and win this game," Friedgen told reporters. "[Players] made some plays in the second half. Really, the credit goes to the team."
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Maryland recognized Friedgen late in the first half. Friedgen's picture was shown on Maryland's video board and the Terps public announcer welcomed Friedgen back to College Park.
Friedgen received a nice ovation from the Maryland fans in attendance.
"I really didn't want this game to be about me," Friedgen said. "I don't want our players — I want them to play for themselves. I'm just a coach. I just want to see them enjoy winning."
Friedgen will coach in Rutgers' bowl game a month from now. The 67-year-old coach was noncommittal about his future beyond that.
"You know, as long as I like it, I'll do it," Friedgen said. "I'm getting up in age. Some things are a little tougher on me than others. I'm going to sit back after the season and kind of reflect on everything. I like winning. I don't like losing 45-3. I can tell you that. That's not in my DNA."
Maryland scored just three points in the second half after racking up 333 yards and 35 points in the first half. "I think the biggest thing for us were the silly penalties and getting backed up," said Terps quarterback C.J. Brown, who completed 14 of 24 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 107 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. "Also, they stopped the big plays. We gassed them in the first half, but we didn't get any big plays in the second half." … Terps kicker Brad Craddock missed a 54-yard field goal that would have tied the game at 41 late in the fourth quarter. It was Craddock's first miss this season and snapped a streak of 24 consecutive field goals dating back to last season. Craddock is 18 of 19 on field goal attempts this year. … Maryland senior outside linebacker Matt Robinson did not play Saturday due to a foot injury he suffered against Michigan last week.