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Friedgen says Maryland-Navy game is 'great for the state'

The Labor Day game between Maryland and Navy has been a matchup that Terrapins Coach Ralph Friedgen and former Navy coach Paul Johnson, now at Georgia Tech, always wanted to play.

"I think it's great for the state," Friedgen said. "I think it's great for high school football. I think it's an in-state rivalry we need. Navy plays Army, that's their big rivalry. But to have an in-state rivalry is good. The last time we played, we were fortunate to win, but to me was a tremendous game. Packed house, pageantry was great, sportsmanship was great. ...Two really great universities competing against each other. The sportsmanship, competitiveness and respect for each other was really what won out the day."

Friedgen and Johnson both spoke at a banquet during a period in which they were not allowed to speak with recruits. Once the recruits came in, the coaches went out to dinner. Johnson did not think it would happen, Friedgen said, because the admirals did not want the game. Friedgen tried convincing the secretary of state. The game was eventually scheduled, and Johnson remains ecstatic.

"It used to be a huge rivalry because the two schools are about 20 miles apart," said Johnson, who remembered the dinner with Friedgen and believes the game should remain in Baltimore.

When the teams last met, Johnson was building Navy's program and Maryland was at its apex under Friedgen. Now, the programs have reversed, and Johnson is curious who will be favored.

"Hopefully we have the same result, but Navy's 10-2 and we're 2-10," Friedgen said. "Things are a little different than when we started this thing."

By Zach Berman  |  July 26, 2010; 5:01 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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