Trust me, I know exactly what you’re thinking. Not in a million years did I imagine I would lead off with those three words. Quite the opposite in fact. I’ve generally been more positive when it comes to Maryland, hemming and hawing about some nasty concoction called turtle soup.
Heck, I’ve even managed to take this savagery to the next level by posting some random, gnarly image on social media of Maryland’s poor defenseless turtle, cold-heartedly dropped into the grimiest pot of soup you’ve ever seen. Yep, guilty as charged. Worse yet, the entire Penn State fan base has no problem raising virtual bowls of turtle soup, acting like IF they were to get it in person, they would stand in lines long enough to put a Sunday morning at The Waffle Shop to shame. If I had to take a wild guess, there’s not a shred of doubt we could easily find some tailgates out there that took the leap from fantasy and made it all too real. Gross!
It’s all in playful fun of course, as I have proudly had my turn at the virtual fire pit filling up your bowls to the rim. At its core though, is this collective desire of ours to rip their mascot to shreds by dominating our yearly matchup. Truth be told, if I wasn’t still so seething mad over the infamous no-handshake game of 2014, I’d have to say it’s been borderline bullying on our part when it comes to them. So, what on earth compelled me to completely flip the script this year? Judging by how quiet we’ve all been about the game this week, I think the answer speaks for itself.
On paper, Penn State has all the tools in its wheelhouse to give the Terps a beating that would make the likes of Ohio State proud for running up the score. IF we play the way we did last week in Columbus, of course. On the flip side though, I saw a look in their eyes last year as Maryland finally got a chance to kick us when we were down, and it wasn’t pretty. As the game got further out of hand, they looked way more like Ninja Turtles than the one that ends up in our pots of soup. It was the kind of look that can satisfy an entire season. The timing of this game just seems too much on their side for us to simply go about our normal overconfident routine.
Considering the state of limbo our program seems to be in following three straight losses, the ‘will he stay or will he go' rhetoric has all the potential in the world right now to sink us with another loss. So, there you have it. I’ll finally say it after years of eye rolls and snide remarks, go ahead and…gulp…fear the Turtle. Three words I never thought I’d say. It’s not so much that I have a fear of them, but so much more that I fear our team’s confidence, or lack thereof, when it comes to trap games like these. For our own sake, let’s just leave the thoughts of turtle soup at home for once and savor the taste of a good old-fashioned W instead: Penn State 30, Maryland 10