Key Moment - Maryland

West Virginia jumped on Maryland early with two quick scores – one aided by a major special teams play – and scored the first 28 points in an 45-24 win. The Key Moment came on Maryland's first touch of the football, when Josh Wilson recorded the first of his two fumbles on kickoffs.

WVU (2-0) recovered at the Maryland 11-yard line and punched in three plays later when quarterback Patrick White hit Darius Reynaud with a five-yard pass for the 14-0 edge. The first score, one of tailback Steve Slaton's two of the game, came via a 38-yard rush on second and seven inside UM territory.

The two scores put Maryland (2-1) in a hole early and forced the Terps to somewhat get away from their game plan of dinking and dumping the ball down the field. UM continued to run the ball on the next series, moving it easily inside West Virginia territory on four consecutive runs that netted 21 total yards. Head coach Ralph Friedgen, now the offensive coordinator, chose to throw the ball the next two plays, and quarterback Sam Hollenbach registered incompletions on second and eight and third and eight. That ended the drive, and, though the punt pinned the Mountaineers at the four-yard line, the early damage was done.

West Virginia efficiently moved the 96 yards in just 10 plays to go ahead 21-0. The drive was highlighted by two more Reynaud receptions, for 12 and eight yards, and White's completion to Brandon Myles for 12 yards. The push was capped by Slaton's Heisman-like rush, where he went left then cutback to the right before making a myriad of Maryland defenders miss. The sophomore reaccelerated up the sideline, and ran past three other defenders to essentially finish the Terps before they got started. The 21-0 lead proved to be just the start in a game in which West Virginia dominated every phase, getting five turnovers and one special teams' score via Reynaud.

But the play that started it was Wilson's fumble. Without it, Maryland might have tied the game or, though it might have given up another score after it was stopped, felt it was still in the contest. That early deflation carried West Virginia through until midway through the second quarter and kept UM out of the game and the crowd in it. It also provided for an impressive first half display for a national television audience.

When Maryland did again get the ball, down 21-0, it turned it over via an interception by linebacker Jay Henry. The defensive stop showcased every aspect of play, from pressure with safety Eric Wicks hitting Hollenbach on the blitz and causing a badly-thrown ball to the superior coverage on the play to the linebackers' playing with their heads up and being aware of the football. Combine that with West Virginia's total dismantling of Maryland's defense and its special teams superiority, and the contest really wasn't one – a huge key for a Big East team on ESPN national TV.

It actually seemed that Friedgen gave in at the start of the fourth quarter, simply being content to run and throw short passes and screens. That ate clock, but UM did not seem to care. When it was stopped on fourth and eight from the WVU 33-yard line with 12:05 left, the game was over barring a miracle. On this night, there would be none for an overmatched ACC foe.


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