Maryland/West Virginia-Game Preview

TSR previews the Maryland/WVU game Saturday at Noon on ESPNU.

Opponent PreviewWest Virginia Mountaineers

Conference – Big East

2010 Record – 2-0 (0-0)

2009 Record – 9-4 (5-2)

Best Win (2009) – 19-16 against Pittsburgh

Worst Loss (2009) – 33-21 against Florida State in Gator Bowl

Three Word Sum-Up – Watch them fly.

Offense – The Mountaineers have transitioned from a strictly rushing attack to one that's more balanced, and are currently ranked 53rd in the nation with 168.5 rushing yards per game, and 30th in the country with 266 passing yards per game. West Virginia is led by a strong quarterback in Geno Smith and three deadly offensive weapons in Noel Devine, Tavon Austin, and Jock Sanders. Smith is a pass-first guy, as opposed to the run-first strategy of former Mountaineer star QB Pat White, but is also quick enough on his feet to make a play. Devine, Austin, and Sanders are all very similar players – none of them are listed above 5'8” or 180 pounds, but all of them have dynamic speed and playmaking abilities.

Defense – West Virginia employs a 3-3-5 defensive formation that has worked well for them over the years. This season, after shutting out Coastal Carolina, the Mountaineers gave up 21 points against Marshall. However, they still rank 14th in the nation in scoring defense, and tied for 29th in total defense. Top cornerback Brandon Hogan is unlikely to play, as he was recently arrested for a DUI, and starting linebacker Pat “Smoothie King” Lazear is listed as questionable.

Overall – The Mountaineers may be the strongest opponent the Terps face all year, and Morgantown is no easy place to travel to. With a frighteningly balanced offense and a defense that blitzes and covers well, this will be a very tough game to win.

Impact Players Jamarr Robinson and Cameron Chism. Robinson needs to be able to take advantage of Hogan's absence and have a big day with Torrey Smith, while Chism needs to shut down Sanders and Austin (he'll cover both at different points in the game).

Prediction – 20-13 Maryland. The Terps' defense is truly that good. Scott, Meggett, and Robinson do just enough to get the win.

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