Matchup: West Virginia at Maryland (-3.5)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 13th @ 12:00 pm (EST)
Location: College Park, MD (airing on Big Ten Network)
Preview: The Maryland Terrapins out of the ACC Conference take on the West Virginia Mountaineers out of the Big 12 on Saturday afternoon from Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.
There are high hopes for Randy Edsall’s Maryland Terrapins this season, joining the Big Ten conference this. The Terrapins have handled their business thus far, with a dominating 52-7 win over James Madison in week 1. Last weekend they survived a bit of a scare, but scored the last 10 points to escape South Florida with a 24-17 win. Maryland has a lot of speed on offense and is returning a combined 17 starters. They feature one of the better wide receiver tandems in the country with Deon Long and Stefon Diggs and are led by senior quarterback CJ Brown, who has passed for 312 yards this season. In the backfield for the Terrapins is sophomore Wes Brown and junior Brandon Ross, who have combined for 253 yards and are both averaging 5 or more yards per carry.
West Virginia had a season to forget last season. The Mountaineers endured a 4-8 season in 2013 and from the looks of it so far, they will improve on that win total. Head coach Dana Holgorsen returns 13 starters and in their opening game against Alabama, they looked like a totally different team. With their fast paced no-huddle offense, the Mountaineers gave the Crimson Tide quite a game, and without a couple of dropped passes they might have actually won outright. Senior quarterback Clint Trickett has been impressive passing for 713 yards and completing 77% of his passes. The main benefactor of the offense is 6’3″ senior Kevin White, who has 19 receptions for 244 yards. Their defense is much improved this season, going back to a 3-3-5 and having a new defensive coordinator. They had their issues stopping the run against Alabama, but their secondary is much improved.
In last season’s meeting between these two schools, Maryland flat out embarrassed the Mountaineers in Baltimore, shutting them out 37-0. That was last year’s team, and this year’s team is totally different. Not only were they competitive against now #3 ranked Alabama. That wasn’t the only thing that impressed me; it was the way they performed the week after. They rolled Towson State the following week 54-0. Yes, it’s Towson State, but last year’s team wouldn’t have performed that way. Last year this Mountaineer team struggled against William and Mary! That shows that this year they’re all business and they’re focused. I don’t doubt that Maryland is a talented team, but their performance last week has me scratching my head, as they should have had its way with South Florida. West Virginia has Oklahoma in Morgantown in their next game, but I think the focus is there for the Mountaineers so I’m not concerned about a look-ahead spot. I think West Virginia’s offense and defense are much improved, and I think they handle Maryland and get a little payback for last year. As a matter of fact, I think West Virginia might be dealing a lot of payback this year.
2014 Week 3 NCAA Football Picks: West Virginia +3.5
West Virginia at Maryland Score Prediction: West Virginia 38 – Maryland 34