Maryland coach DJ Durkin looking forward to game in Central Florida's 'Bouncehouse'

Two weeks after playing its first game under new coach DJ Durkin before an announced 35,474 in College Park, and one week after playing a road game in a less-than-half-full Ocean Bank Field at Florida International, the Maryland football team might face its first taste of road rage Saturday.

According to Central Florida athletic director Danny White, there could be close to a sellout crowd at the 44,206-capacity Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando when the 2-0 Terps take on the 1-1 Knights. White said Thursday that fewer than 4,000 tickets remained for the game.


Durkin will look to see how his young team responds in a place that has been called "The Bouncehouse" and "The Trampoline," for the way the stadium shakes when students jump to Zombie Nation's song "Kernkraft 400."

"I'm looking forward to [it], and I think our guys are … excited about it, too," Durkin said during a teleconference Thursday. "We had a road game last week, but I really feel this is a first true road test in a hostile environment where the crowd noise could potentially have an effect on it. Those are the games you want to play in."

Durkin doesn't believe his team, in particular his freshmen, will be intimidated by their surroundings.

"When you get a place where there's potentially loud crowd noise, the biggest thing that it affects is the communication," Durkin said. "You have to be good at communicating with one another, making eye contact, all those sorts of things. I don't think it will really affect getting caught up in it or anything like that."

The Knights, who are coming off a 51-14 loss at Michigan last week, are still looking to pull off an upset against a Power Five conference school. The Terps are favored by as much as nine points in Las Vegas.

Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell said that many won't think this game will be more competitive than the first two based on last week's loss in The Big House.

Like Durkin, Bell believes it will.

"You know who outhit who, everybody will point to the scoreboard," Bell said Wednesday. "But Central Florida is much improved in terms of their physicality and the violence with which they play the game."

In the 10 years since its on-campus facility opened with a 35-32 loss to No. 6 Texas in 2007, Central Florida has twice lost close games against ranked teams, first to then-No. 17 South Florida in 2008 and again to then-No. 12 South Carolina in 2013. The Knights beat a 7-1 Houston team at home in 2013.

First-year Central Florida coach Scott Frost called last week's loss in Ann Arbor "a good stepping stone" for a team that went 0-12 a year ago.

"Anytime you're playing against an exceptional football team and you see how they execute and the way that they do things, I think it helps your team understand exactly what it takes to be a special football team," Frost said on a teleconference this week.