The one weakness in Maryland's offensive attack is their placekicking. Terrapin kickers are only 3-8 on the season, and have also missed an extra point.
To be fair, four of the misses are outside of 40 yards, but that fact does give the WVU defense another ten yards of cushion before the Terps can be considered to be in scoring range.
The last time WVU visited Maryland, the Mountaineers gained more than 100 yards in the first quarter but failed to score. Those failures included a missed field goal that seemed to really demoralize the offense. WVU may need the same sort of boost from the Terp side of the ball on Saturday.
WVU's offense, while inconsistent this year, has been much more balanced in scoring than the past few seasons. So far, WVU has scored 13, 13, 21 and 17 points in the four quarters of games.
Conversely, WVU has held all three of its opponents scoreless in the first quarter this year. That trend will have to continue if the Mountaineers hope to spring the upset in College Park.
Yes, we just said "upset". And it bothers us. WVU should not be an underdog to a program like Maryland. That's not a knock on the Terps. They are playing well this year, and deserve the credit they are getting. It just bothers us that WVU is fighting with a middle of the pack ACC program, especially one that the Mountaineers are 7-3 against over the last decade.
TWISTS AND TURNS
In addition to being a big blitz team, Maryland also stunts and twists its defensive linemen much more than any of WVU's first three opponents. That puts more pressure on the offensive line to pick up their blocks, as their original man might be two gaps away by the time the play is underway.
There's a downside to all this activity, though. Games along the defensive line can create running lanes and other gaps that can be exploited, provided the offense executes quickly enough.
As the ball is snapped, watch Maryland's defensive line. Are they rushing straight upfield, or are they continuing to loop and stunt? Are linemen coming free, or is WVU's front five picking them up? The side that wins this matchup will have a big effect on the game's outcome.
GET OFF HIS BACK
Several newspaper pundits have opined that Rich Rodriguez can't be trusted or is not credible because he gave the ball to Avon Cobourne 35 times a week after he said he wouldn't give him the ball that many times.
What a load of crap.
These same writers will criticize the heck out of a coach for not being adaptable during a game, or for not sticking with what's working.
That's a double standard, and it has been in full force the past couple weeks, as Rodriguez has been slammed for everything from using "Don Nehlen's offense" to giving up on his scheme.
Coach Rodriguez has admitted he has things to learn about managing the game as a head coach in Division 1. It's not the same as Glenville. But to rip him for running what is working well, or for using a player that is producing, is off base.
Many of the same people who are ripping Rod for running Avon too much are the same ones that questioned putting in Rasheed Marshall when WVU's offense was moving the ball at Boston College. You can't have it both ways, guys!
Avon is WVU's best back. If he can run the ball 35 times a week and put up 175 yards, give it to him. Again. And again. And again.
Check out the stats matchup plus great trends and analysis for the game at our new Insider Stats page!