The Maryland football team’s annual homecoming game always garners buzz as the university’s alumni return to the campus, but the circumstances for last year’s edition were less than ideal.

The Terps were 2-6 entering their game against Wisconsin on Nov. 7, 2015, more than a month later than Maryland’s homecoming game this season. They were coming off their fifth straight defeat in an eight-game slide and playing their third contest after Randy Edsall’s firing. The losing continued with the Terps’ 31-24 loss to the Badgers, another blemish in the 3-9 campaign.

Maryland’s struggles last season seem like a distant memory entering Saturday’s game against Purdue. The vibes surrounding the program have changed, and it’s the perfect time for homecoming in College Park.

“We’re into the real time now,” defensive end Roman Braglio said. “We’re in Big Ten week, so yeah, everyone’s fired up. We’re ready to play.”

First and foremost, Maryland is winning under first-year coach DJ Durkin. Yes, the wins came against Howard, an FCS school, and two mediocre Florida programs. The Terps needed double overtime to beat UCF, a team that finished 0-12 last year.

But to casual fans, many of whom will fill Maryland Stadium this weekend, the team’s undefeated record holds the most importance. The Terps matched last season’s win total and are at the halfway point to bowl qualification, which is an exciting development, considering what happened a year ago.

What makes Saturday even more intriguing is, throughout the Terps’ success, Maryland’s fanbase hasn’t had many opportunities to see Durkin’s bunch play.

The Terps opened the season at home with a 52-13 win against Howard, but the majority of the fans exited when the starters swapped out of the game, leading 42-0 midway through the third quarter.

Then they played in Florida on back-to-back weekends. CBS Sports Network streamed the games, stripping students with housing on the campus and viewers who have Comcast or Verizon of the chance to watch either matchup. A bye week followed, their first in September since 2013.

By the time their contest with the Boilermakers (2-1) rolls around, the Terps (3-0) will not have played in College Park in almost a month.

“Being back at home is nice,” Durkin said. “It feels like forever ago since we’ve had a home game here. Our guys are excited about that.”

When the Terps step on the field, they’ll play what may be the worst team in the nation’s best conference.

Maryland also hosts No. 17 Michigan State and No. 2 Ohio State this season, but the Spartans and Buckeyes won’t visit until Oct. 22 and Nov. 12, respectively.

Instead, the Terps open their Big Ten slate with the Boilermakers, who received the fewest votes in‘s Big Ten preseason football poll. Betting websites have the Terps favored by about 10 points.

They’re not only hoping to start the season 4-0, which last happened three years ago. They’re expected to.

All of these factors amount to what should be an electric atmosphere around the campus and inside Maryland Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The players are poised to put on a show.

“There’s no better feeling,” left tackle Michael Dunn said, “than winning a homecoming game.”