Hope and excitement was growing in College Park as their 4th-ranked Terps returned home to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Despite Maryland’s convincing wins so far in the season, critics still weren’t sold on the Terps as a serious contender. The Terps were creating a national buzz, but many were quick to dismiss their play as merely average. Yet Maryland still hadn’t faced a powerhouse opponent, and most of their points had come off of big plays and not balanced, sustained drives. Also, many continued to question whether quarterback Bernie Faloney was capable of filling the shoes of his predecessor, Heisman runner-up Jack Scarbath. On October 10, 1963 they got their chance to prove themselves. Maryland would silence their critics abruptly by dismantling Georgia, 40-13, in an all-around great team performance. It also became clear that Bernie Faloney wasn’t just following in Scarbath’s footsteps, he was blazing his own trail to greatness.
The attention of the game was focused on the highly-ranked Georgia quarterback Zeke Bratkowski, and how Maryland planned to stop him. Bratkowski, a extremely accurate passer, had also made a name for himself with his superb pitching abilities, which made the Bulldogs’ offense even more elusive and dynamic. The Terps struggled to figure out Georgia’s pitch plays in the first half, but once they were able to catch on, they were immediately in the Georgia backfield causing chaos. With three interceptions in the game, Bratkowski was forced to leave in the third quarter after a couple pummeling blows by tackles Stan Jones and Bob “Blubber” Morgan. At this point, things were going totally downhill for Georgia.
In the third quarter Maryland poured it on without remorse. The scoring was dominated by Faloney, who was personally involved in four of Maryland’s six touchdowns in the game (one rushing, two passing, one interception return). He would have had another 51 yard rushing touchdown to add to his day hadn’t a Terps’ penalty negated it. Faloney completed seven of 10 passes for 148 yards, and gained another 23 yards with his legs. The performance was his best of the season to date, and with it, he was able to solidify his case for All-American status. In addition to Faloney’s outstanding performance, it was the Terps’ running game combined with stellar defense that allowed them to put the game away in the 3rd quarter. Chet Hanulak again proved that he did not need an abundance of carries to get the job done. Chet “The Jet” rushed for 107 yards on just eight carries, an average of over 13 yards per carry. Maryland coasted in the 4th quarter as Jim Tatum got his second and third stringers some experience. Keeping Georgia from scoring the entire second half, the game ended 40-13.
This game was a crucial point in the course of the 1953 season. It was the game that proved the doubters wrong, it was the coming out party of future All-American Faloney, and most importantly it was the game that gave the Terps the confidence that they could dominate the best college football had to offer.
The scoring play stat sheet can be found here.
Come back next week to see if ACC opponent North Carolina can find an answer to upset the Terps in Chapel Hill.