Game Recap: Maryland vs. West Virginia

What do Lebron James and WVU Football have in common?  No, it’s not that neither one of them have won championships in their respective sports.  Like James was in the playoffs, the Mountaineers seem to stop trying after having a few great quarters of play.  A perfect example is this past weekend against Maryland.  After being up 27-10 at the half the Mountaineer defense gave up three unanswered touchdowns to the Terrapins.  This nearly cost them the game if not for a late interception by Eain Smith. 

Besides the defense slacking after a very impressive first half, the offense seemed to suffer the same fate.  With the only exception being Geno Smith, who had a very impressive game overall, throwing for a career high 388 yards and only one touchdown.  Smith also threw his first interception of season, although some will argue that it wasn’t his fault.  After throwing for a spectacular 232 yards in the first half, Smith's numbers dropped as he threw for a measly 156 yards in the second half.  However, there were some positives on offense as the running game began to take shape as Andrew Buie and Vernard Robinson both ran for touchdowns.  Which shows that the Mountaineers do have a running game that isn't used all that often. 

Going back to the defense, they did in fact step up their game this time. They picked off Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien three times.  Terence Garvin had the play of the game by intercepting a pass and taking it all the way for six.  With the defense finally getting a few interceptions, this hopefully will increase their confidence and allow them to continue to pick passes in later games.  There were also a few questionable calls when the defense was on the field.  Two flags were thrown for unnecessary roughness; it seems that the referees have never heard of tackling before.  The defense recorded no sacks in the game, which still poses the question, “Can anyone get into the back field and bring down the quarterback?”  From the looks of things so far, it’s going to take a while for the Mountaineers’ defense to start sacking quarterbacks on a regular basis.    

The standout for this game is hard to choose since no one really seemed to perform well on either side of the ball. The only person who had a consistent game and didn’t do anything wrong was kicker Tyler Bitancurt.  He was 3/3 on field goals with his longest being 35 yards and was 4/4 on extra points. 

If WVU wants to beat LSU this week, there are some areas they need to work on. One area of concern is the sack department, the Mountaineers need to bring down the quarterback more.  So far they have only recorded one sack this year and that is unacceptable, especially if they have any hopes of keeping the LSU offense off the field and the quarterback on his butt.  The secondary also needs gain some speed in order to keep up with the receivers, already a few times year they have been burned for long yards or touchdowns.  However, this last game showed that the defense can indeed create turnovers and they will have to continue this in order to keep LSU off balance.  The Mountaineers’ offense showed that they know how to run the ball and will have to do this if they want to be able to tire out the LSU defensive line and linebackers if they hope to torch them late in the game with the pass.

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