WVU - Maryland Game Preview

The Terrapins travel to Morgantown looking to shell shock the 7th-ranked Mountaineers.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: UM 21-19-2
When: 9/18, Noon
Where: Morgantown
Stadium: Mountaineer Field
Record: 2-0
AP Rank: 7
Last Week: UCF
Returning Starters: 16
Defense: 8
Offense: 8
Click for Touchdown City, West Virginia Forecast
Record: 2-0
AP Rank: 21
Last Week: NIU
Returning Starters: 9
Defense: 4
Offense: 5
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2004 Schedule
First Meeting: 1919
Last Meeting: 2003
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2004 Schedule

Common Opponents to Date: N/a

Injuries:

WVU - Bryan Wright (Ankle) Probable, Kay Jay Harris (Hamstring) Questionable, Ben Lynch (Shoulder) Probable

Maryland- D'Qwell Jackson (hyperextended elbow) Probable, Josh Allen (shoulder) Probable, Josh Wilson (bruised knee) Probable

Game Outlook:

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
WVU 2-0, 0-0
MD 2-0, 0-0
Sat 9/18 Noon
Mountaineer Field
Series: UM 21-19-2
TV: ESPN 2
AP: WVU-7 MD-21
Line: WVU -7
Stats & Trends
WVU offense vs. Maryland defense

On defense the Terrapins return an experienced group with nine starters being upper classmen. Defensive coordinator Gary Blackney, boasts one of the top linebackers in the country in D'Qwell Jackson (6-0, 231). Jackson, the leader of the defensive unit, has recorded 13 tackles and two interceptions after the first two games. The junior teams with William Kershaw (6-3, 230) and David Holloway (6-2, 222) to complete the linebacking unit. Kershaw is tied for fourth on the team with 11 tackles and recorded his first pass break-up against Northern Illinois. Holloway, who is the strongest of the linebackers, has tallied 11 stops and one fmble recovery this season.

The line is lead by defensive end Shawne Merriman (6-4, 245), who is a disruptive force to opposing offenses. Merriman, a third-year player, has recorded two sacks and 12 tackles this season and in one of the top pass rushers in the ACC. At the other end position is Kevin Eli (6-2, 280). Eli, a fifth-year senior, leads the team with three quarterback hurries but has been slowed by injury.

Manning the defensive tackle positions will be Henry Scott (6-2, 271) and Conrad Bolston (6-3, 280). Scott, a converted fullback, has just two tackles this season, both against Northern Illinois. Bolston, a second-year player, has totalled four tackles so far.

The Maryland defensive backfield is filled with experience and talent as three seniors and one junior make up the group. Cornerback Domonique Foxworth (5-11, 178) is the Terrapins best cover man. Foxworth, a three-year starter, is an All-America candidate that could have his hands full on Saturday dealing with WVU's tall receivers. The senior has recorded four tackles and two pass break-ups this season.

Manning the other corner position will be Gerrick McPhearson (5-10, 190). McPhearson, who has a blazing 4.28 40-yard dash, has tallied nine tackles, one sack and one pass break-up this season.

The safety posistions will be handled by Chris Kelley (6-2, 204) and Raymond Custis (5-9, 188). Kelley, a one-time Terrapin quarterback, recorded a time high nine tackles against Temple, including two for losses. Custis, a strong and quick defender, totalled four tackles in his first collegiate start against Northern Illinois.

WVU is ranked 8th in total offense (540.50 yds/game), 3rd in rushing offense (356.50 yds/game) and 76th in passing offense (184.00 yds/game).

Maryland is ranked 55th in total defense (341.50 yds/game), 64th in rushing defense (138.00 yds/game) and 41st in passing efficiency defense (107.03 rating).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. Maryland offense

The Terrapin offense is lead by first-year starting quarterback Joel Statham (6-1, 212). Statham, a sophomore, completed a career high 18 passes for 268 yards last week against Temple. On the season, Statham has completed 30 passes in 47 attempts for 437 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. The Chatsworth, Ga. native is a strong armed quarterback with good mobility and can effectivily run the option.

Statham will be handing the ball off to a pair of fine running backs. Josh Allen (5-11, 202) and Sammy Maldonado (6-0, 233) are a combination of speed and power. The two have combined for over 2,200 yards and 25 touchdowns over their careers. This season the combo have gained 331 yards on 66 carries.

This season's group of starting wide receivers are small but speedy. The group is lead by all-everything Steve Suter (5-9, 194). Suter gives the Terps a breakaway threat that can score from anywhere on the field. The senior has 56 yards on three receptions on the season. Joining Suter will be Derrick Fenner (5-11, 186) and Rich Parsons (5-10, 183). Fenner is the only returning receiver in the ACC to average more than 20 yards per catch. The junior has 97 yards on five catches this season. Parsons, used in three receiver sets, has three receptions for 76 yards to date.

Playing tight end for the Terps will be a trio of capable players. Derek Miller (6-8, 264), Vernon Davis (6-3, 239) and Rob Abiamiri (6-2, 241) all share time at the position and bring different abilities to the table. Miller, one of the biggest tight ends in the country, is basicly a third offensive tackle, being used in blocking situations. Davis is the main pass receiving target, totalling 72 yards on five receptions this season. Abiamiri, a senior, is a solid blocker and receiver that will see about 10-15 plays on Saturday.

The Maryland offensive line is talented, experienced, big and is probably the best unit the Mountaineers will face in the regular season. Anchoring the line will be center Kyle Schmitt (6-4, 295). Schmitt, who is on the Rimington Award Watch List, was Maryland's top preformer a year ago. At left guard will be C.J. Brooks (6-5, 311). Brooks is an All-America candidate and one of the best guards in the country. At right guard is Russell Bonham (6-2, 300). Bonham made his first career start this season against Northern Illnois after recovering from a torn ACL in 2003.

Manning the tackle positions will be Stephon Heyer (6-6, 295) and Lou Lombardo (6-5, 308). Heyer is the Terps' best pass blocker while Lombardo is the strongest lineman on the team.

By the numbers:
WVU is ranked 53rd in total defense (340.00 yds/game), 48th in rushing defense (114.00 yds/game) and 49th in passing efficiency defense (113.36).

Maryland is ranked 38th in total offense (419.00 yds/game), 27st in rushing offense (200.50 yds/game) and 57th in passing (218.50 yds/game).

Advantage: Maryland

WVU special teams vs. Maryland special teams

Nick Novak (6-0 186) returns for his final season as the Maryland placekicker. Novak is one of the best kickers in the country coming into this season and has not disappointed. To date, Novak is 4-5 on field goals (2-3 from beyond 40 yards) and has converted all six extra points. Teaming with Novak to handle the kicking duties will be punter Adam Podlesh (5-11, 199). Podlesh, last year's starter, has had an excellent start to the season. The sophomore has averaged 42.3 yards per punt, and has nailed half of his punts inside the 20-yard line.

Back returning punts and kicks for his final season is Suter, who has been a thorn in the side of the Mountaineers for two seasons. He has returned two punts for touchdowns against WVU (80 yards in 2002, 76 yards in the Gator Bowl), and had 84 receiving yards in the bowl game to boot. This All-America candidate has averaged 26 yards per kick return and eight yards per punt return this season.

Helping Suter return kicks will be Jo Jo Walker (5-9, 167). Walker, a junior, has returned one kickoff this season for 16 yards.

By the numbers:
WVU is ranked 87th in net punting (33.38 yds/punt), 49th in kick returns (20.63 yds/return) and 4th in punt returns (24.29 yds/return).

Maryland is ranked 11th in net punting (43.00 yds/punt), 60th in kick returns (19.75 yds/return) and 59th in punt returns (8.00 yds/return)

Advantage: Maryland

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Picks to Click:

On Offense: Offensive Line

On Defense: Adam Lehnortt

Useless Facts:

* The Terrapins have forty-two players (39%) from the Old Line State on their roster.

* The Mountaineers have won three in a row against the Terrapins four different times.

* Maryland is 33-8 under the tutelage of Ralph Friedgen.

* Maryland has not finished in the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll since 1976 (#8).

* The Terrapins have 18 players that are 6'5" or taller. Jared Gaither is the tallest at 6'9".

Be sure to check out our Stats & Trends section for lots more match up information!

Prediction:

The is the key game for the 2004 Mountaineers. The Blue and Gold cannot turn the ball over as they have in the past two games if they want to end the losing streak against the Terps. The team that wins the turnover battle will win this game, and that team will be the Mountaineers.

The last time the Mountaineers lost a home game while they were ranked in the Top 10 was a 1989 defeat at the hands Virginia Tech. WVU won't break that streak on Saturday.

WVU - 28 MD -27


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