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SECU Stadium - Maryland Terrapins

Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

SECU Stadium 90 Stadium Dr. College Park, MD 20742

Year Opened: 1950

Capacity: 51,802

Fear The Turtle

The Maryland Terrapins play at SECU Stadium, formerly called Byrd Stadium; the name was changed by the Board of Regents in December 2015 to Maryland Stadium, as former coach and university president Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd was a proponent of racial segregation.

It was expected that the stadium’s name would be sold eventually, and most believed that Under Armour, founded by Maryland alumni Kevin Plank, would eventually have their name on the field. The sportswear manufacturer is already the main provider of athletic gear at the university. Instead, in 2022, the credit union known as SECU, signed a 10-year deal.

The stadium opened in 1950 as a horseshoe-shaped bowl with a capacity of 34,680. In 1991, the five-story Tyser Tower added luxury suites and a larger press box. In 1995 an upper deck on the north side of the stadium was added. Various changes since have topped the seating capacity at 51,802.

The University of Maryland has traditionally been known as a basketball school. The university has seen a great deal of basketball success under coaches such as Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams, even winning a national championship in 2002. The university has been playing football with some success since 1892 and received one official national championship in 1953. The 1951 team is generally seen as even better than the 1953 squad and has retroactively been considered the national champions by various systems such as the Sagarain Ranking System.

Maryland has also been the home of many well-known coaches and players. Coaches include Jim Tatum, Lou Saban, Jerry Claiborne, Bobby Ross, Ralph Friedgen, Randy Edsall, and the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. Famous players include Erin & E.J. Henderson, Stan Jones, Randy White, Dick Modzelewski, Torrey Smith, Vernon Davis, Stefon Diggs, and Boomer Esiason.

Primarily the home to Terps football and lacrosse, Maryland Stadium has been the scene of a few other events. In 1957 Queen Elizabeth II was on hand to watch the team upset North Carolina while the USFL Baltimore Stars called the stadium home during their 1985 championship season.

Seen from the upper deck of Maryland Stadium are the Washington Monument, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Old Post Office Pavilion, the Washington National Cathedral, and the United States Capitol.

Food & Beverage 4

There are many concession stands found around all parts of the complex. Concession prices are in the normal range and are reasonable for such a large venue.

Crab fries found behind sections 14 and 205 are the best nod to local culture, although the addition of the “The Chessie,” a large 24-ounce hot soft pretzel smothered in backfin crab dip and melted cheddar cheese, then topped with a dusting of Old Bay, is a pretty unique offering. It is designed to be shared between four people.

This stand also features some other cool local novelties. Chick-fil-A offerings can be found behind the Tyser Tower, while Ledo's Pizza can be found behind sections 13, 20, and 205. Otherwise, traditional food offerings of hot dogs, fries, hamburgers, and pit beef are generally seen around the stadium. The best food option at Maryland Stadium is the Maryland Dairy Ice Cream behind sections 3, 20, and 208. The ice cream is made on campus. There is a stand under the main videoboard offering healthier options as well.

Atmosphere 4

The stadium is very much an old-school football stadium. This can be bad in terms of the aging infrastructure, but it also provides a nice platform for fan interaction. The stadium is still at its heart the horseshoe-shaped stadium that opened in 1950. The large press and luxury suite tower looks tacked on awkwardly, as does the massive upper decks on the north side of the stadium.

The closed-end part of the horseshoe is where the band and students sit. Unfortunately, they are not closer to the field action as they both provide a great deal of sound and excitement. The large open-air concourse is a great meeting spot pre- and postgame.

There are nice videoboards at both ends of the stadium. Maryland’s marching band is called The Mighty Sound of Maryland and is one of the most entertaining marching bands in college football.

Neighborhood 3

The neighborhood is a mixed bag. Maryland Stadium is in the middle of the campus so no businesses are directly nearby. The Terp Town area to the west of the stadium gives the fans entertainment and festivities to enjoy pregame. Also located nearby is the Stamp Union, where you will see many a fan enjoying a pregame meal or buying shirts at the campus bookstore. The Maryland Dairy Ice Cream store here is a nice place to go ahead of the game.

The town of College Park is located directly south of the campus along U.S. Route 1. RJ Bentley’s Filling Station, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Jimmy John’s, Ledo’s Pizza, and Five Guys are all good options in this “downtown” area. Looney’s Pub is another great option and is located in The Varsity building (8150 Baltimore Ave) north of the downtown area and maybe even closer to the stadium if walking.

The Hotel (yes, that is its name) is the best lodging choice and is within walking distance of the campus.

You will always have the dizzying array of Washington DC options to choose from. The College Park Station of the Washington Metro is close by and is your best bet for getting to DC as the traffic and parking situation is not ideal.

Fans 3

The student section at Maryland is noted for being loud and fairly rude. Expect to hear a few curse words during their chants. The students do enjoy the game and offers a festive atmosphere, although expect them to roll out in the second half.

Other fans throughout the stadium do not always go to the same level as the students do. Fans in and near the Tyser Tower are pretty quiet. Overall the fans are passionate but may tend to be more the clap politely types.

Access 2

The University of Maryland is not far from the Washington Beltway, but it is just far enough away that getting to the stadium is not too easy. U.S. 1 and University Boulevard are full of traffic lights and will be very full of traffic, even on non-game days. On-campus traffic is also a bit of a mess as a new Washington, DC light rail system is being constructed directly on the campus.

The best bet is to pre-pay for a parking space through the university. The price tag seems way too high but at least you will know where you are going ahead of time. Pricing will range from $20 to $30, depending on the game and availability. A map of your space will be provided when you pre-purchase. The Terrapin Trail Garage is a personal favorite as it is relatively close to Maryland Stadium but still allows a quick way out of the area.

The public garage in downtown College Park is always an option, as well. It is pretty well-priced, but a bit of a hike to the stadium. It will put you in a prime spot for postgame food and beverages. You will see some fans park for free on the sides of nearby University Boulevard, but this is not recommended. To do this you would need to get there very early and frankly, the road is too busy and dangerous to park there.

If traveling to the game via the Washington Metro, get off at the College Park Station and take the shuttle directly to the stadium.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets can be had for a good value, depending on the opponent. Expect to pay more for the larger well-known opponents of the Big Ten. Parking prices weigh down the rating as they are far too high for the location.

Extras 4

One should go to the Maryland Dairy Ice Cream, whether inside the stadium or at the Stamp Union, during your visit. Look for their special offerings as they rotate and change frequently. As noted above, there is a location within the stadium offering a simplified menu.

The main video board that sits behind the closed end of the horseshoe is pretty interesting. It is the standard scoreboard seen in many places, but since it sits in an open area it is a good meeting spot.

The Terps enter the stadium under a large turtle shell. There is plenty of history of past Maryland teams scattered in various sections of the stadium.

Final Thoughts

SECU Stadium is a pretty basic college football stadium. The long-standing horseshoe seating bowl doesn’t always mesh with the rest of the stadium, but a fan will still find a game enjoyable.

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