WVU - Maryland Game Preview

Maryland travels to Morgantown on Thursday night trying to snap the Mountaineers' nine game winning streak in front of a national ESPN televison audience.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: 21-21-2
Thu 9-14-06 7:45 pm
Morgantown, WV

Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 2-0
AP Rank:5th AP
Last Game
E. Washington W 52-3

Click for College Park, Maryland Forecast
Record: 2-0
AP Rank: NR
Last Game
Middle Tennessee W 24-10
Rosters/ Bios
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Season Stats
2006 Schedule
First Meeting: 1919
Last Meeting: 2005
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule

Common Opponents to Date:

None to date

Injuries:

WVU: Ridwan Malik - Out (hip strain), Doug Slavonic - Out (Ankle), Damien Crissey - Out (foot sprain), Mike Villigrana - Doubtful (Back), Patrick White - Probable (Strained rib), Steve Slaton - Probable (Ankle)

Maryland: Drew Weatherly - Out (Foot), Andrew Crummey - Questionable (Hamstring), Dane Randolph - Questionable (Ankle), Trey Covington - Questionable (Knee), Marcus Wimbush - Probable (Knee).

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. Maryland defense

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Game Info
WVU 2-0, 0-0
UM 2-0, 0-0
Thu 9-14-06 7:45 pm
Milan Puskar Stadium
Series: 21-21-2
TV: ESPN
Sagarin: WVU-15 UM-42
Line: WVU -14.5
Stats & Trends
The jury is still out on the 2006 version of the Terrapin defense. Last season's star, D'Qwell Jackson, is playing on Sundays, leaving two sophomores and a junior manning the linebacking positions.

Leading the Terp defense this season has been Wesley Jefferson (6-2, 233). The middle linebacker leads the team with 18 tackles, including three tackles for a loss, one sack and two quarterback hurries. Joining Jefferson in the linebacking corps will be Erin Henderson (6-3, 242) and Dave Philistin (6-2, 233). Henderson, a one-time quarterback, has recovered from the torn ACL that shelved him for the 2005 season and is second on the team with 12 stops. Philistin, a one-time WVU recruiting target, has recorded 10 tackles on the season.

Plugging the inside on the defensive line will be two massive tackles, Carlos Feliciano (6-5, 307) and Conrad Bolston (6-3, 303). The pair have combined for nine stops on this season. Look for Bolston's size and quickness to provide matchup problems with WVU's interior offensive line.

Starting at defensive end will be Jeremy Navarre (6-3, 263) and Trey Covington (6-3, 303). Navarre, a former fullback, and Covington have recorded five tackles this season.

Patrick White and the Mountaineer receivers will face an experienced group of Terp defensive backs. Isaiah Gardner (5-11, 194) and Josh Wilson (5-9, 187) will start the corner postions. Gardner, a Notre Dame transfer, has racked up 11 tackles and two pass break-ups. Wilson, a speedy senior, is one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC. Wilson has 11 tackles, three pass break-ups and one blocked kick.

Manning the safety positions are Christian Varner (5-11, 196) and Marcus Wimbush (5-10, 292). The pair have combined for 11 stops this season.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 4th in total offense (538.00 yds/game), 2nd in rushing offense (353.00 yds/game) and 72nd in passing offense (185.00 yds/game).

UM is ranked 62nd in total defense (315.50 yds/game), 44th in rushing defense (94.50 yds/game) and 41st in passing efficiency defense (108.19 rating).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. Maryland offense

Second year starting quarterback Stan Hollenbach (6-4, 214) will be making his debut at Milan Puskar Stadium. Hollenbach has connected on 20 of 30 passes this season for 292 yards. Last season Hollenbach threw for 291 yards against the Blue and Gold defense but 158 of those yards were to the super human Vernon Davis. Davis is now showing his freakish ability for the San Fransisco 49ers, leaving Hollenbach looking for a new go-to receiver.

One possibility will be Joey Haynos (6-8, 267). Haynos, a tight end, has hauled in four passes for 87 yards, and will provide a big target for the senior quarterback.

Rounding out the receiving corps will be Isaiah Williams (6-2, 200) and Danny Oquendo (6-0, 188). This young combo has totalled nine receptions for 148 yards and will need to have big games in order to pull off the upset in Morgantown.

Carrying the ball for Maryland will be a trio of running backs: Lance Ball (5-9, 216), Keon Lattimore (5-11, 221) and Josh Allen (5-11, 215). Ball leads the Terrapins with 24 points (four touchdowns) while Lattimore leads the team in rushing with 175 yards on 26 attempts. Ball ended the 2005 season as the starter, closing the campaign with four 100-yard efforts in his last seven games. Look for Ball to get 15 carries, Lattimore to get 13 carries and Allen to see about five touches.

The Terrapin offensive line is huge, as always. Starting right tackle Jared Gaither is a 6-9, 350-pound road grader that was named third team Freshman All-American by College Football News. Gaither is also the brother of former WVU hoopster Jamar Gaither.

Starting opposite of Gaither at left tackle is Stephon Heyer (6-6, 320). Heyer was the Terps' top lineman in 2004 before being sidelined in 2005 for a torn ACL.

Manning the interior line will be Edwin Williams (6-2, 318), Donnie Woods (6-3, 289) and Andrew Crummey (6-5, 301). Woods was the highest-rated offensive lineman for the Terps a year ago while Crummey has 13 starts under his belt.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 25th in total defense (253.50 yds/game), 54th in rushing defense (115.00 yds/game) and 16th in passing efficiency defense (93.48).

UM is ranked 83rd in total offense (320.00 yds/game), 37th in rushing offense (174.00 yds/game) and 96th in passing offense (146.00 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU special teams vs. Maryland special teams

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Tailgating
Handling the punting duties will be one of the best punters in the nation. Adam Podlesh (5-11, 205), a two-time Ray Guy Award semifinalist, is averaging 44.8 yards on six punts. Half of his punts have landed inside opponents' 20-yard line.

Place kicking for Maryland will be Dan Ennis (5-10, 158). Ennis, a former walk-on, has connected on three of five field goals and all six exta points on the year. He is second on the team in scoring with 15 points.

Returning kickoffs will be Josh Wilson. Wilson has two returns this season, averging 43.5 yards, with a long of 61 yards.

Starting wide receiver Danny Oquendo will be returning punts. The sophomore has returned four punts for 22 yards on the young season.

By The Numbers:
WVU is ranked 16th in net punting (40.500 yds/punt), 22nd in kick returns (25.75 yds/return) and 54th in punt returns (8.20 yds/return).

UM is ranked 21st in net punting (39.00 yds/punt), 41st in kick returns (22.17 yds/return) and 63rd in punt returns (7.00 yds/return)

Advantage: WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Steve Slaton

On Defense: Eric Wicks

Totally Useless Facts:

  • Starting left tackle Stephon Heyer wears a size-22 sneaker off the field but likes to squeeze into an 18 cleat on game days.

  • The Maryland coaching staff possesses a combined total of 202 years of full-time experience at either the collegiate or pro levels.

  • This season will be Ralph Friedgen's first coordinating the Maryland offense while also serving as head coach. Friedgen has not called offensive plays since leaving Georgia Tech in 2000.

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

Prediction:

After dominating the Mountaineers through the 2001-2003 seasons, including the 2004 Gator Bowl the Terps have lost the last two meetings against West Virginia. After Thursday's game, the Mountaineers will hold a three game winning streak, repeating the feat accomplished in 1996-1998 and 1991-1993. This year's version of the Terrapins do not possess the experience or speed to stop the Gold and Blue.

WVU - 35 Maryland - 10


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