Game Preview: WVU vs. Maryland
Series: 26-21-2, WVU
Last meeting: WVU 31, UMD 21
Television: 3:30 p.m. ESPNU (Anish Shraff - play-by-play, Kelly Stouffer - analysis)
Line: +3.5 WVU
West Virginia's (2-1, 0-1) matchup with border rival Maryland (3-0) often serves as an early season measuring stick for both programs, and this season that will ring especially true as the two teams prepare to square off at B&T Stadium Saturday afternoon.
It will mark the 50th meeting between the two in a series that began in 1919 with the Mountaineers currently holding a 26-21-2 advantage. West Virginia has won seven straight in the series dating back to 2004, including last season's 31 to 21 victory in Morgantown.
This year's edition of the rivalry will feature two teams that are looking to see just what they have this season, as both enter with question marks. West Virginia will rely on redshirt freshman Ford Childress, who will make his second career start, to lead the offense against a Terrapins defense that currently tops the nation in sacks per contest with almost five per game.
Maryland comes into the matchup riding high under head coach Randy Edsall, beginning the season 3-0 for the first time since 2001. Edsall has amassed a career record of 9-18 with the Terrapins and came to Maryland from Connecticut. During his time at both stops, he has a 1-8 record against West Virginia, with the only win coming in a 16-13 overtime game in 2010 when he coached the Huskies.
"We know we got a tremendous challenge. We haven't beaten West Virginia in seven [straight games]. They're a very good football team that is playing well at this point in time so were going to have to make sure that we go out and have a good week of practice and prepare the right way and execute and be more productive offensively and minimize big plays defensively in order to give ourselves an opportunity to win on Saturday afternoon," Edsall said.
It will be the third meeting between Holgorsen and Edsall and this year's edition of the Terrapins has a much different feel as senior quarterback C.J. Brown has helped answer some of the concerns that have plagued Maryland at quarterback over the past couple seasons.
Brown has thrown for 833 yards and six touchdowns through three games, while also serving as a threat on the ground accounting for around 86 yards per game and five touchdowns. But Brown isn't alone, as he has several weapons both in the backfield and at wide receiver that make the Terrapins possibly the biggest challenge to date for the Mountaineers.
A balanced attack, Maryland will try to have an even distribution in play calling, while getting the ball into the hands of the explosive sophomore wide receiver Stefon Diggs and newcomer Deon Long.
Defensively the Terrapins have many new faces from a season ago, but the aggressive 3-4 alignment currently ranks 17th in the country in total defense with 296.3 yards per game and allowing only 13.7 points per matchup on top of the aforementioned sack numbers.
"I think the pass rush is a combination of a couple of things, number one, you got to have guys that have a desire to get to the quarterback. You got to have guys that have more than one move, guys that can do things from a technique standpoint that's going to allow them to combat the things that the offensive lineman is doing in terms of protection," Edsall said.
The game will kickoff at 3:30 p.m.
West Virginia Depth Chart:
QB - 7 Ford Childress (r-Fr), 14 Paul Millard (Jr) or 9 Clint Trickett (r-Jr)
RB (A) - 3 Charles Sims (r-Sr), 4 Wendell Smallwood (Fr), 2 Dreamius Smith (Jr), 29 Dustin Garrison (Jr)
FB (B) - 88 Cody Clay (r-So), 42 Garrett Hope (So)
WR (X) - 12 Ronald Carswell (r-So), 5 Ivan McCartney (Sr)
WR (Z) - 11 Kevin White (Jr), 19 K.J. Myers (r-So)
IR (Y) - 5 Mario Alford (Jr), 6 Daikiel Shorts (Fr)
LT - 67 Quinton Spain (r-Jr), 79 Nick Kindler (r-Sr)
LG - 78 Marquis Lucas (r-So), 76 Pat Eger (r-Sr)
C - 65 76 Pat Eger (r-Sr), Tyler Orlosky (r-Fr),
RG - 64 Mark Glowinski (r-Jr), 73 Russell Haugton-James (r-So)
RT - 62 Curtis Feigt (r-Sr), 79 Nick Kindler (r-Sr)
DT - 98 Will Clarke (r-Sr), 97 Noble Nwachukwu (r-Fr)
NT - 90 Shaq Rowell (r-Sr), 95 Christian Brown (So)
DE - 93 Kyle Rose (r-So), 20 Dontrill Hyman (Jr)
BUCK - 32 Brandon Golson (Jr), 45 Eric Kinsey (So)
SPUR - 31 Isaiah Bruce (r-So), 51 Marvin Gross (Fr)
WILL - 35 Nick Kwiatkoski (r-So), 11 Sean Walters (r-Fr)
SAM - 33 Jared Barber (Jr) and 47 Doug Rigg (Sr), 53 Tyler Anderson (r-Sr)
FCB - 34 Ishmael Banks (r-Jr), 7 Daryl Worley (Fr)
FS - 8 Karl Joseph (So), 9 K.J. Dillon (So.)
BS - 25 Darwin Cook (r-Sr), 41 Ricky Rumph (So)
BCB - 26 Travis Bell (r-Jr), 16 Terrell Chestnut (r-So)
PK - 86 Josh Lambert (r-Fr)
P - 91 Nick O'Toole (So)
KO - 48 Michael Molinari (r-Jr)
LS -87 John DePalma (So)
H - 48 Michael Molinari (r-Jr)
PR - 12 Ronald Carswell (So), 10 Jordan Thompson (So)
KR - 5 Mario Alford (Jr), 4 Wendell Smallwood (Fr)
Fifteen Mountaineers earned their first career starts this season with Mario Alford (WR), Ronald Carswell (WR), Ford Childress (QB), Mark Glowinski (RG), Brandon Golson (BUCK), Marquis Lucas (LG), Paul Millard (QB), KJ Myers (WR), Tyler Orlosky (C), WR Daikiel Shorts (WR), Charles Sims (RB), Dreamius Smith (RB), Daryl Worley (CB), Josh Lambert (K), Nick O'Toole (P).
True freshmen that have played include: Marvin Gross (LB), Carlton Nash (CB), Wendell Smallwood (RB), Daikiel Shorts (WR), Jeremy Tyler (S) and Daryl Worley (CB).
In total, 29 Mountaineers saw their first game action this season including Mario Alford (WR), Justin Arndt (LB), Michael Calicchio (OL), Ronald Carswell (WR), Ford Childress (QB), James Gayeski (DL), Brandon Golson (BUCK), Mark Glowinski (RG), Jarrod Harper (S), Dontrill Hyman (DE), Josh Lambert (K), Devonte Mathis (WR), Logan Moore (WR), Carlton Nash (CB), Brandon Napoleon (CB), Noble Nwachukwu (DE), Tyler Orlosky (C), Nick O'Toole (P), Daikiel Shorts (WR), Charles Sims (RB), Wendell Smallwood (RB), Dreamius Smith (RB), Clint Trickett (QB), Jeremy Tyler (S), Sean Walters (LB), Kevin White (WR), Daryl Worley (CB) and Maurice Zereoue (RB).
Redshirt senior cornerback Brodrick Jenkins left the team earlier this week.
Injuries: Doug Rigg, Isaiah Bruce, Christian Brown, Garrett Hope and KJ Dillon returned to practice this week and should be available for the game. Redshirt senior and back up BUCK linebacker Dozie Ezemma broke his lower leg and foot against William & Mary and will miss the remainder of the season. West Virginia also will be without junior linebacker Shaq Petteway who will miss the entire season with a torn ACL. Sophomore cornerback Nana Kyeremeh also will miss the entirety of the season with a shoulder injury. Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Adam Pankey is still recovering from a torn ACL and also won't be available for the game but began practicing in green.
Redshirts: Head Coach Dana Holgorsen has already announced that he plans to redshirt the following players this season: junior running back Andrew Buie, junior offensive lineman Stone Underwood, freshman wide receiver Shelton Gibson, freshmen linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, freshman fullback Elijah Wellman, freshman safety Isaac McDonald, freshman wide receiver Jacky Marcellus, freshman safety Malik Greaves, freshman offensive lineman Marcell Lazard, freshman offensive lineman Tyler Tezeno and freshman offensive lineman Grant Lingafelter.
Points to click:
* Minimize the effects of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. There is little doubt that this dynamic duo is going to get theirs Saturday. To this point Diggs and Long have accounted for 31 receptions [57% of the teams] and 560 yards [64% of the teams] for the Terrapins but it will be up to the Mountaineer secondary to keep both out of the end zone. Success on Saturday shouldn't be measured by how many yards the defense gave up to either but if they can keep those two from impacting the game such as in first down receptions and obviously touchdowns.
* Don't abandon the run. Yes the Mountaineers have a three headed monster at running back and a redshirt freshman quarterback starting his first game away from Milan Puskar Stadium but there is little doubt that Dana Holgorsen loves to throw the football and Maryland will be without their starting corners for Saturday's matchup.
Add in the big arm of Ford Childress and his impressive collection of weapons at wide receiver and you have a recipe for an all-out aerial assault in Washington DC. Maryland has been very effective against the run so far, holding the opposition to less than 100 yards per game. Some of those numbers are due to the fact that the teams they were playing had to pass more in the second half while playing catch-up but holding UConn to 34 yards is an impressive feat none the less. WVU will have to keep Maryland honest as it appears Maryland will have to scheme some help for their depleted secondary.
* Avoid getting beat over the top. Maryland will attempt to run a balanced offense, and it will be essential for the Mountaineers not to get caught looking in the backfield because the Terrapins have the weapons to do some damage down the field. Stopping the run and avoiding play action will be key.
* Keep Ford Tough. Another play on West Virginia freshman quarterback's name, but Maryland has been very successful in getting into the opponents backfields and the Mountaineers offensive line will need to keep Childress from getting sacked. As a new starter, Childress will need to get rid of the football as well and keep the Mountaineers from working behind the sticks.
* Make CJ Brown one dimensional. To this point Maryland quarterback CJ Brown has been able to do whatever it is he wants to opposing defenses. In just three games he has nearly 1100 yards and 11 touchdowns, including five on the ground. As the Terrapins second leading rusher, Brown can not only escape the pocket when he feels pressure but has shown he can run quarterback designed runs out of their base offense. Their offense runs off the fact that Brown can confuse offenses and the Mountaineers are going to need to keep him in check. Brown has a big arm and some impressive weapons to throw to but without a doubt it West Virginia will need to force Brown to win the game with his arm rather than running wild in the open field.