SAN FRANCISCO – The Oregon State Beavers [8-4, 6-3 Pacific-10 Conference] and the Maryland Terrapins [6-6, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference] will meet for the first time when they collide in Emerald Bowl VI.
The Emerald Bowl will be televised live by ESPN to a nationwide audience on Friday, December 28th from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. [PST]/8:30 p.m. [EST] in this meeting between the teams from the Pacific-10 Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Emerald Bowl is the lone Bowl game to match Pac-10 and ACC teams.
"Once again, the Emerald Bowl is able to bring together two outstanding, nationally-known programs," said the game’s Executive Director, Gary Cavalli. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to select the third-place team in the Pac-10, Oregon State, a team that won six of its last seven games, the only loss coming at USC with their star running back, Yvenson Bernard, on the sidelines with an injury.
"Oregon State has a reputation as a team that ‘travels well", Cavalli continued. "They have a ton of alumni in Northern California, and are anxious to come to San Francisco. Under Mike Riley, they have consistently challenged for the league championship."
"In Maryland, we will have one of the ACC’s most prominent names," Cavalli said. "The Terps come into the game with great momentum from a dominating win over North Carolina State. Earlier this season, they beat two top 10 teams—Rutgers and Boston College."
Last year’s Emerald Bowl featured UCLA and Florida State and attracted a record standing-room-only crowd of 40,331 fans.
Oregon State capped its regular season with a 38-31 OT win at Oregon. It was the Beavers’ first Civil War victory in Eugene since 1993. In two tours of duty [1997-98, 2003-present], head coach Mike Riley will have taken the Beavers to Bowl games in four of the past five years. He’s won all three of his previous Bowl trips, including a thrilling 39-38 triumph in the 2006 Sun Bowl over Missouri.
The Beavers aided their postseason chances considerably by winning their final three Conference games. "I'm excited for our team and our fans," Riley said. "I'm really proud how this team battled back from a slow start to have a strong finish. I'm thrilled, especially for the seniors who have worked so hard for this opportunity. We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing a very good Maryland team from a strong conference."
Oregon State Director of Athletics Bob DeCarolis said 2007 "has been an exciting year for Beaver football. We are proud to represent the Pac-10 Conference at the Emerald Bowl. San Francisco is one of the great cities of the world and its proximity to 'Beaver Nation' certainly presents an opportunity to have terrific representation at the game."
The Terrapins also closed fast to earn their trip to the City By The Bay. Maryland defeated then #8 Boston College at home on November 10, becoming Bowl-eligible two weeks later with a 37-0 shutout at North Carolina State. Under head coach Ralph Friedgen, Maryland has advanced to postseason play in five of the last seven seasons. The Terps won the ACC championship in Friedgen’s first campaign, 2001, and played Florida in the FedEx Orange Bowl. Last year, the Terps defeated Purdue, 24-7, in the Champs Sports Bowl to complete a 9-4 season.
Friedgen is 56-30 at the Maryland helm, 3-1 in Bowl games. He was offensive coordinator at Maryland, his alma mater, from 1982-86. Friedgen worked under Bobby Ross at Maryland, Georgia Tech and the San Diego Chargers before coming back to Maryland in 2001.
"The Terps are ready to travel to one of the most interesting cities in our nation," said Maryland Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow. "With 5,000 Maryland alumni between Los Angeles and San Francisco, we expect to have an excellent cheering section for our team."
Maryland’s last game against a Pacific-10 opponent was a 1982 Aloha Bowl loss to Washington, 21-20. The Terps’ last game in the state of California was in 1954, a 12-7 loss at UCLA in the year the Bruins won the national championship.
"Our kids are excited to be going to the Emerald Bowl and appreciative of this opportunity," Friedgen said. "We’re looking forward to playing a Pac-10 team, something we haven’t done in a long time. Oregon State is a fine team and Mike Riley is an excellent football coach. He has his team playing very well right now."
Maryland’s offense [350.6 ypg] ranked fifth in the ACC and featured the third-leading rush offense [147.3 ypg]. Senior RBs Keon Lattimore [206-789-13 TD] and Lance Ball (172-763-12 TD) were the ACC’s fifth and seventh-leading rushers. Sophomore QB Chris Turner appeared in 10 games and was third among ACC passers in pass efficiency.
Junior LB Erin Henderson [54-68-122] led the ACC with an 11.1/game tackle average. Henderson’s four recovered fumbles also led his team and conference.
Oregon State’s last ACC opponent was second-ranked Duke in the 1942 Rose Bowl Game, played at Durham, NC due to World War II. Oregon State won 20-16. OSU’s Yvenson Bernard [237-1,037-12 TDs] led the Beavers in rushing and was second in the Pac-10 overall. The Beavers led the Pac-10 in defense against the run, permitting just 899 opposition yards, an average of 2.1 per carry and only 74.9 ypg. QBs Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao each directed the offense to an average 28.4 ppg.
The Emerald Bowl came into existence in 2002 as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl before receiving its current designation in 2004. Diamond Foods, Inc., based in Stockton, CA, has been the game’s title sponsor since its inception. Emerald is Diamond’s snack nuts division. Michael Mendes is Diamond’s chief executive officer and a UCLA graduate. Last year’s Emerald Bowl telecast on ESPN achieved a 4.5 rating. The production ranked ninth among the 32 Bowl telecasts and was third among the 21 games carried by ESPN/ESPN2.