A feeling of nostalgia is sweeping through West Virginia this week because the Maryland Terrapins will be making their first trip to Morgantown to play the Mountaineers in 3 years. For those math heads, that’s 36 months, 1,095 days, or 1,576,800 minutes since the two schools last met on the grid iron. With virtually no familiarity, and seasons seemingly heading in opposite directions, this one should make for an interesting matchup this weekend.
Both teams enter into Saturday’s game 2-0 with WVU continuing to climb up the top 25 poll (Mountaineers are now ranked 21st). Maryland appears to be headed in the right direction after a late fourth quarter red zone defensive stop that lead to a 17-14 victory over Navy to open the season followed by a flat out butt whooping of Morgan State 62-3. Maryland’s defense has only given up 17 points while its offense has scored a solid 79 for the season.
The Terrapins’ offensive success can partly be contributed to its two quarterbacks. I know, “if you have two quarterbacks you don’t have one” or so the old saying goes, but the Terrapins have made it work. The starter is junior Jamarr Robinson, a 6-foot, 195 pound scrambler who rushed for 129 yards against Morgan State. The ”other” quarterback is 6-3, 215 pound redshirt freshman Danny O’ Brien who threw three touchdowns in limited time last week. Now, O’ Brien did leave the game against Morgan State after turning an ankle and it’s not clear if he’ll be in action come this Saturday.
On the Mountaineer side of things, the blue and gold seem to be struggling during this young 2010 campaign. Fresh off a triple overtime thriller against Marshall, the Mountaineer offense has scored 55 points on the year and the defense has allowed 21 (all to Marshall) points. Unlike the Terrapins’ dual quarterback system, the Mountaineers are lead by a guy I’m officially nicknaming “Jr. Clutch”, Gino Smith. Smith earned his nickname by by leading the Mountaineers on not one, but two, scoring drives of 90 plus yards in the fourth quarter as his team trailed. On the season, Smith has completed 52 of 72 pass attempts for 532 yards and 4 touchdowns (pretty solid numbers for a first year starter).
All that said, it’s time to wrap this preview up with my weekly prediction and for the first time all season, I’m not picking the Mountaineers. I’m going with a final score of Maryland 31 West Virginia 24(please don’t set my couch on fire for that pick Mountaineer fans). The recent loss of senior/All-Big East corner back Brandon Hogan (suspended indefinitely after being arrested and charged with DUI) will really hinder the Mountaineer defense. Couple Hogan’s departure with the fact that the Mountaineers are one of only four teams in the country without a sack will cost them 7 points and the game. Who knows, maybe backups Brodrick Jenkins, Pat Miller, and Brantwon Bowser will collectively shut down the Terrapins wide receiver corp. Both Mountaineer and Terrapins’ fans are waiting until Saturday afternoon to find out.
About the Author
Written by Jason Lee
Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, I've been a sports fan probably since I was about 9 years old! A 2002 graduate of Mount Union College (Alliance, OH), I've had the opportunity to cover some great high school football on the radio in both Ohio (working with WHBC in Canton) and in West Virginia (I currently work with Bristol Broadcasting in Charleston). I also keep an on-line journal/blogs on my own website.