Maryland (1-2, 0-1 ACC) never got on track, and was badly outplayed throughout the entire game save a 1:58 burst when it scored 13 points. WVU still led, 21-19, when UM quarterback Sam Hollenback missed on a two-point conversion pass and scored the final 10 points for the win.
West Virginia (3-0, 1-0 Big East) never trailed in beating UM at Byrd Stadium for the first time since 1997. The all-time series is now tied, 21-21-2, and WVU has won the last two games.
"Hey, yeah, it's kinda fun beating the ACC," fullback Owen Schmitt said.
A huge key to the game was when the little-used bruiser began to run through Maryland's tiring defense. His teammates wore down the Terps with 237 yards on the ground while Schmitt began to romp over a gasping UM squad that ended up being on the field for almost twice as long as WVU.
Maryland had been a fast-starting team -- scoring first in its first two games against Navy and Clemson -- but floundered against WVU's 3-3-5 stack. Through the first 40 minutes Maryland managed just six points.
West Virginia led, 7-3, at halftime off freshman tailback Jason Gwaltney's three-yard plunge on third and goal.
That capped a drive that started at the Mountaineer two-yard line. Maryland seemed to be winning the field position before the march. The drive looked to stall on a third and 10 from the two. But quarterback Adam Bednarik found Brandon Myles on a fly pattern down the right sideline for 49 yards. Schmitt ran for 12 and Bednarik carried three times for 19 yards to set up Gwaltney.
Bednarik left in the second half with a neck injury suffered when he scrambled and was hit by one of his own lineman. He finished five of six for 57 yards and ran nine times for 31 yards.
"We could not finish drives early," Schmitt said. "Come the fourth quarter (coach Rich Rodriguez)decided to pound the ball with iso. The line did a great job, and Gwaltney took the linebackers. They made me look good."
And while Gwaltney and Pernell Williams were wearing down Maryland, co-starting quarterback Pat White began to exploit the Terps with his feet. That opened up other possibilities, as UM had to respect White's break-away speed. It began to over-pursue, and WVU pulled out two reverse plays and one double reverse that easily moved the ball.
Schmitt countered the sudden speed attack (Rodriguez upped the tempo when he sensed UM tiring) with power bursts up the middle, while White (three of five for 29 yards) found Jason Colson on a wheel route that completely fooled Maryland. The toss to Colson and the first reverse setup Schmitt, who put WVU ahead 14-6 on a three-yard run with 14:52 left in the game.
Maryland faced a key third and one on its next possession, but was stuffed when linebacker Jay Henry buried a Terrapin tailback for a three-yard loss. It was the sixth of the first nine UM possessions that ended in a three-and-out.
Schmitt then began to gouge Maryland. He ran for 19 and 35 yards on the next series. Williams dove in from a yard out with 10:41 left to extend the Mountaineer lead to 21-6.
The Terps then scored 13 quick points, mostly thanks to tight end Vernon Davis, who broke an 73-yard catch-and-run. WVU returner Antonio Lewis fumbled the kickoff, and UM cashed in on the first turnover of the game on a Jo Jo Walker 12-yard catch. The two-point conversion was no good, but the crowd was back in the game with 8:24 remaining.
Rodriguez quickly silenced it. The fifth-year coach, now 2-4 against UM, called the reverse to Darius Reynaud and a White keeper for 25 yards. Schmitt then tested the middle before WVU faced a third and seven from the Maryland 15.
Gwaltney ripped off a power and speed touchdown run. The right side of the line opened, and Gwaltney ripped through it before bulldozing one defender and dragging three others into he end zone. The 28-19 lead appeared insurmountable.
"That's what we expected from him," running backs coach and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said. "He looks for contact. Sometimes you have to tell him its ok not to hit the guy."
Hollenbach's fumble on the next series sealed the game when Henry scooped up the loose ball and ran to the UM 28-yard line. Pat McAfee added a career-long 40-yard field goal for the final margin. It was West Virginia's 30th straight win since 1980 when it scores 30-plus points. Twenty-seven of those wins have come since 2000.
West Virginia managed drives of 98, 81, 73 and 57 yards.
"We started to put the two big guys in there and run downhill on them," Magee said. "We just said lets go downhill. I am so proud of Owen. He came from a small school and just wanted a chance. That's special."
The game started sloppily, especially for WVU, which began to quickly rack up penalties. The Mountaineers, flagged just once in the second half, had seven penalties in the first 18 minutes.
Daniel Ennis kicked field goals of 33 and 35-yards for Maryland. Hollenbach went 20 of 31 for 293 yards. But because of the way the Terp ofense is built, if it can't run, it can't win. West Virginia could, thanks to Schmitt.
"You know, it's interesting that I actually was going to transfer to Maryland or West Virginia," Schmitt said. "The Maryland coaches didn't appear interested."
Schmitt finished with 80 yards on six carries and one touchdown. Williams and Gwaltney combined for 90 yards on 28 carries. Davis had five catches for 158 yards, an average of 31.6 yards per catch. WVU outscored Maryland 24-13 in the fourth quarter.