Randy Edsall: 'Not who we are'

ByJosh Moyer ESPN logo
Sunday, November 2, 2014

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. --Maryland's three captains refused to shake hands withPenn State's captains before Saturday's coin toss, and Terrapins coach Randy Edsall apologized for the stunt afterward.

"That is not who we are," Edsall said, minutes after his team won20-19. "Our emotions got the best of us, and we've got to be above that. So I just want to say ... I apologize for that. Feel bad for that."

Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson apologized for the handshake snub in a statement.

"We are extremely disappointed in the actions of our captains involved in today's coin toss. Their behavior is not a reflection of how our student-athletes should conduct themselves in athletic competition," Anderson said in the statement. "On behalf of President Dr. Wallace D. Loh, head coach Randy Edsall and myself, we extend our sincere apology to Penn State University president Dr. Eric J. Barron, director of athletics Sandy Barbour, head coach James Franklin and the Penn State football program."

There was no indication for the cause of the apparent slight, but controversy between the two teams brewed over the offseason. During a May trip to Baltimore, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin told a crowd of Penn State fans he considered Maryland "in-state" and said, regarding other schools in the region, "They might as well shut them down because they don't have a chance."

Edsall fired back one month later and said the Terrapins were more about "substance." Factor in the geography -- the two campuses are within a 3-hour drive of one another -- the shared recruiting ground, and the fact Franklin was once the Terps' coach-in-waiting, and there are more than a few ingredients for a rivalry.

Added Edsall: "Let the rivalry begin. There should be a trophy for this game, it's a bordering state. Let's have some fun."

In the other media room Saturday, the Nittany Lions offered a collective shrug over the no-handshake. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg, special teams player Jesse Della Valle and defensive end C.J. Olaniyan extended their hands to Maryland -- but the Terrapins just kept their arms down by their side.

PSU's trio awkwardly retracted their hands a few moments later.

"Yeah, I actually went up to shake one kid's hand," Hackenberg said, "and he just shook his head at me. ... I think they tried to send a message. That's not how we do it, but I think -- I don't really know what to think of it."

Franklin, with his two young daughters in tow, tried to downplay the apparent sign of disrespect. He said everyone has a choice and didn't claim to be offended by the move but, when pressed, he admitted it was definitely unique.

"I've never been part of that," he said. "Twenty years, I've never seen that before."

Maryland and Penn State also got into a brief scuffle before the coin toss. Wideout Stefon Diggs -- one of the Maryland team captains who refused a handshake, alongside tight end P.J. Gallo and safety Sean Davis -- was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

But, after the game, Penn State seemed more focused on its fourth straight loss than the lack of a handshake. Wideout Geno Lewis said as much.

"Those little things, I don't really get involved with. It's not worth it," he said. "It's part of the game. It is what it is. If that's how they feel, then that's how they feel."

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