West Virginia Football: Maryland preview

Explosive Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs is averaging 24.2 yards-per-catch after 3 games

Explosive Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs is averaging 24.2 yards per catch after 3 games

The West Virginia Football team travels to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this weekend to take on the Maryland Terrapins.

The game kicks at 3:30pm Saturday afternoon and will be televised by ESPNU.  West Virginia leads the all-time series, 26-21-2. They’ve won the last seven meetings between the two schools.

The head coach for Maryland is Randy Edsall. In his third season, he has a career coaching mark of 79 wins and 81 losses.

Maryland is 3-0 for the first time since the 2001 team began the year 7-0 and went on to win the ACC Championship and earn a spot in the Orange Bowl.

This is the final non-conference game for the Mountaineers, as they’ll resume Big 12 play against Oklahoma State next week. WVU lost its first conference game to Oklahoma, 16-7, in the second week of the season.

The Mountaineers are 2-1 overall, the two wins coming against William & Mary and Georgia State. While Maryland’s three wins have come against college football royalty as well, otherwise known as Florida International, Old Dominion, and Connecticut.

The Terps’ offense has been solid so far: they rank 10th nationally in total offense (554.7 ypg). Maryland is actually one of only three schools in the nation to go over 500 total yards of offense in all three games this season.

Quarterback C.J. Brown has thrown for 833 yards and six touchdowns to this point, and he’s also rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns. The Mountaineers will need to prepare for him much like they did for Oklahoma’s dual threat quarterbacks. Brandon Ross leads Maryland in rushing with 265 yards on 46 carries. This should be a stiff test for what looks like an improved Mountaineer defense.

After three games, the WVU defense ranks eighth nationally in passing yards allowed (136.7 ypg). Redshirt sophomore linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski leads the team with 27 tackles. Senior safety Darwin Cook has 20 tackles as well, with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Maryland’s do-it-all performer Stefon Diggs has 16 receptions for 387 yards and three touchdowns through three games. The WVU defense will need to contain him if they expect to come out on top.

Diggs is also dangerous in the return game: he’s returned five kicks for 105 yards up to this point. He has caught at least one touchdown in five of his last seven games played dating back to last season.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Terps currently rank 17th in the nation in total defense (296.3 ypg) and 18th in scoring defense (13.7 ppg). Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield leads the nation in sacks with 5.5.

Expect Maryland to dial up multiple looks against WVU’s redshirt freshman quarterback Ford Childress, who will be making his second collegiate start. Childress threw three touchdown passes in his first start against Georgia State and completed 25-of-41 passes for 359 yards. He’ll be making quite the leap in competition when the Mountaineers hit the field in Baltimore on Saturday.

The Terps will certainly be eager to end their seven game losing streak against WVU. The Mountaineers will need to contain Brown and Diggs if they want to make it eight in a row against the Terps.

WVU will also need to protect young quarterback Ford Childress, allow him to get some easy throws under his belt and get him comfortable under center. The WVU offensive line really needs to step up and open holes on a consistent basis in order to help out the inexperienced Childress.

This has the makings of a close game, winning the turnover battle and playing well on special teams will go a long way in determining the winner.

  • danny

    Good writeup. You hit it dead on in the challenges WVU ended up facing here. Of course, nobody would have thought the score would have ended up where it did.

    Will look forward to your preview on the Oklahoma State game.

  • Zach Cumberland

    Thanks Mark!

  • http://FoxSports Mark Dalton

    Another good article. Spot on with your evaluation. Keep up the good articles. I am a big WVU fan and have stopped reading the ESPN Big 2 blog because Texas and Oklahoma are the only teams they write about. It is good to read an article about WVU that is accurate and knowledgeable.

    Mark

    • steve harper

      They should have stayed in the Big East they are in over their head in the Big 12.