Bits and Bytes: WVU - Maryland

A noon kickoff means a early post time for our last roundup of notes and observations prior to the West Virginia - Maryland football game.

ON THE MARK

WVU is 67-89 in passing this year, accounting for a team pass completion percentage of 75.3%. That figure is the third best in the nation. Which two schools are currently completing their tosses at a higher rate?

ROUTS

There haven't been very many close games in the recent history of this series. Dating back to 2000, only two games have finished with a spread of fewer than ten points. Those games were both WVU wins – 19-16 in 2004 and 37-31 in 2001. The average margin of victory over the past 13 games is 18.3 points.

WORK THE STREAK

Since 2001, WVU is a perfect 7-0 when wearing gold jerseys and blue pants. (Anyone referring to jerseys as “tops” should be immediately banished to Saturday shopping trips at Target in lieu of watching football.) When Maryland asked to wear white uniforms at home this week, it gave the Mountaineers the chance to wear this combination again after recording a rousing victory in them against Towson, but apparently the team choose opposite, and will sport blue jerseys and gold pants. The gold over blue set is the only current uniform combination in which the Mountaineers are undefeated.

RETURN THREATS

As if Maryland's Stefon Diggs weren't enough of a threat to contend with in the return game, the Terps also field cornerback William Likely as an excellent punt return specialist. The diminutive sophomore averages 19.2 yards per return this year, which has reduced opponents net punt average to 29.4 yards per kick.

WVU counters with Mario Alford on kickoff returns, so the Mountaineers might be close to even in that department, but the Terps do appear to hold the overall return game edge heading in to the contest. WVU might be able to neutralize that advantage with Nick O'Toole, whose booming punts have helped WVU to a #13 national ranking in net punting.

UP AND DOWN

After recording 18 tackles against Alabama, Karl Joseph had but two against Towson..

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That's the kind of stat that can be horribly misconstrued, so it bears pointing out that the two offenses Joseph faced couldn't have been more different. Also, he, like many of his teammates, departed midway thrugh the game against the Tigers, making way for their teammates to get some time. At least backups saw appreciable time against the Towson, and a few of them, most notable Jarrod Harper and Xavier Preston, may have earned even more playing time in the future with their performances.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Maryland's media release correctly notes that the Mountaineers have five players on their roster that hail from the state of Maryland, but for some reason ignores the fact that Daejuan Funderburk is a Washington, D.C. native. The D.C. border does fall short of encompassing the Maryland campus, but it is closely identified with UM.

The five Crab Staters are Nana Twum Agyire, William Crest, Marvin Gross, Jarrod Harper and Jonathan Haynes.

TRIVIA ANSWER

Texas State holds down the number two position (25-30, 83.3%), but the best of all is a bit of a shocker. Army, not exactly known for throwing the football, is a perfect 7-7 so far this year.


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