Game Preview: Maryland vs. West Virginia

Coming off their second win of the season the Mountaineers head to Maryland to take on the Terrapins.  While the Mountaineers do have some momentum heading into the game, it will mean nothing if they can’t come away with a victory.  This game will also determine which Mountaineer team will show up, the one that plays hard all four quarters or the other one that seems to step up their game in the second half.

 Last week, it was the team that stepped up their game in the second half.  After being down 12-10 in the first half the Mountaineer offense and defense began firing on all cylinders in the second half.  They scored four touchdowns in the third quarter alone and another two in the fourth quarter.  If they have any hope for beating Maryland both the offense and defense will have to play tough the full four quarters. 

Look for the defensive line to apply more pressure on Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien than they have the previous two weeks.  O’Brien has also thrown an interception this year, so hopefully this will get the defensive backs involved and they might come up with a few big plays.  Another thing to look for is how can Bruce Irvin and Keith Tandy get in on a few sacks.  Last week was slow for both of them so look for them to get more involved this time around.

Moving onto the offensive side of the ball, look for Geno Smith to continue to find his targets in the end zone.  He already has six touchdowns this season is on the right track to become the quarterback West Virginia is looking for.  Last week he found four different receivers for touchdowns and while this week his numbers won’t be the same Smith will definitely find plenty of room to spread the ball around.  To go along with Smith’s performance two of West Virginia’s running backs, Vance Roberts and Dustin Garrison had rushing touchdowns.  With the offense finally getting things going, the Mountaineers will likely march up and down the field several times on Saturday.

One thing that was greatly improved on was the play of the special teams.  Against Marshall they allowed one touchdown off a kick return, but they showed much improvement last week.  Look for them to continue to plug up holes and make stops on kick and punt returns. 

With all the pieces coming together the Mountaineers should be able to come away with a W.  If the Mountaineers can improve on a few more aspects of the game, there should be no reason why they shouldn’t go undefeated or at the very least lose one game.      

Prediction: West Virginia-24  Maryland-17

Player of the Game: Geno Smith 14-25 255 yards 2TDs

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