Bad Memories

Jay Henry remembers West Virginia's last trip to Maryland.

The Mountaineers were throttled 34-7 in 2003 by former teammate Scott McBrien, who also quarterbacked the Terrapins to a 41-7 Gator Bowl victory over WVU in a rematch three months later.

West Virginia surrendered 28 first downs and 498 yards, while Maryland's defense forced nine straight punts before yielding a meaningless score in the closing minutes. The Terps scored on four of five first-half possessions for a 20-0 halftime lead. WVU had more penalties (seven) than first downs (five) entering the fourth quarter.

Henry, then a freshman, was forced into the game when All-American linebacker Grant Wiley cramped in the second quarter.

"That was a wake-up call for me as far as college football is concerned," Henry said. "I had to play about 30-40 snaps, and wasn't sure what was going on."

Henry's circumstances are a microcosm of the Mountaineers' recent woes in College Park. West Virginia has lost four of its last five trips to Maryland, the last three by a combined 99-27. Fifth-year head coach Rich Rodriguez is just 1-4 against the Terrapins, his worst record against any team on WVU's 2005 schedule -- including No. 4 Virginia Tech, which Rodriguez has beaten twice in the last three years.

Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen is 3-1 versus West Virginia, the only loss a 19-16 overtime defeat last year. That snapped a four-game series winning streak for the Terps, their longest since beating WVU four consecutive times from 1984-87 -- when names like Bobby Ross and Frank Reich led Maryland to two Atlantic Coast Conference titles.

"They have given us fits in the last several years," Rodriguez said. "Our guys know that the speed and athleticism will be much better and that it will be sold out and very loud in Byrd Stadium. They know we have been embarrassed by them several times in the past."

When Rodriguez asked his team who was next following a 35-7 win over Wofford, the team answered in unison: "Maryland!"

The game has long been a measuring stick for WVU's regular season fortunes. In the last 17 years, when West Virginia beats Maryland it has gone 78-29-3 with eight bowl appearances, four on New Year‘s Day.

When it loses it is just 40-41 with three bowl trips, two coming in the last three years when a pair of losses to Maryland didn't spoil 9-4 and 8-4 regular seasons, respectively.

The Terps lead the all-time series 21-20-2.

"When people talk about the Marshall game being a rivalry, our rivals are Pitt, Maryland, and Virginia Tech," Rodriguez said. "They've had a good team, with some good players and they've beaten us pretty good.

"Last year we got off the schneid a little bit. They've got some great players, they've recruited very well, and their coaching staff does a great job, so you better play well or you're going to get beat."

As many as a dozen first-year WVU players are expected to see action against Maryland. They are getting a tutorial to avoid situations like Henry's.

"The players have been telling me about it," true freshman tailback Jason Gwaltney said. "It's a big part of our season. I'm sure things can change. We've got to bring our ‘A' game."


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