Maryland Game Important to WVU Players

With the ever-changing landscape in college football, some rivalries have slowly started to go away.

Which is why this week's upcoming Border War against Maryland is one that means quite a bit to the West Virginia football team, which features a handful of players from that area.

And as they prepare for the College Football Playoff coming in the future, the Mountaineers know the importance of keeping big non-conference games against teams from the surrounding areas on the schedule. It's something that can help from a resume perspective to make your team look better, and it helps to get seen by more players from where WVU will be recruiting.

"It's somebody that we've played for a long time and we'll continue to. I know they're on the schedule for the next several years," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said on the Big 12 teleconference. "Maryland is a huge recruiting base for us. It's an important game for our fans and it's an important game for them and their fans as well.

"It's always big and it's something our guys are going to be fired up about. We didn't have to motivate them much yesterday when we went back to work."

When the Mountaineers went back to work following its 41-7 victory against Georgia State, they did so with a new starting quarterback in place in redshirt freshman Ford Childress.

In his first collegiate action, Childress set the record for most passing yards in a game by a WVU freshman and joined Geno Smith, Marc Bulger and Chad Johnston as one of four Mountaineer quarterbacks to throw for more than 350 yards with three touchdowns in the same game. Childress completed 25 of his 41 passes for 359 yards and three scores with one interception against the Panthers.

But it wasn't the stats Childress put up that impressed Holgorsen the most last week.

"(Stats) are something we look at, but there were some other things I was more interested in other than that," Holgorsen said. "I thought his demeanor was good. He didn't get rattled. I was actually kind of encouraged with him getting hit like that, just based off seeing how he'd handle it.

"He's got a long ways to go ... The stage is obviously going to be bigger this week and in games in the Big 12 and I fully expect him, just based on what I've seen, I expect his demeanor to be consistent and for his productivity to improve."

Having a quarterback in place for the foreseeable future is important for a West Virginia offense that is three games in and still doesn't have an identity quite yet.

The defense, in a big change from last season, hasn't been a problem. The Mountaineers - led by new coordinator Keith Patterson - have yet to allow more than 20 points yet this season, the first time WVU has done that three-straight games since the end of the 2010 regular season.

"Defensively, I knew we were going to be ahead of where we are offensively and I'm very pleased with the production that they've put out on the field there," Holgorsen said. "They've continued to get better each and every week. Maryland brings a different test to us because they've got two wideouts that are as good as anybody in the country. We knew we'd be ahead of the game defensively."

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