Preview: West Virginia - Maryland

The Mountaineers visit College Park, trying run their record to 3-0 for the fourth straight season. The Terrapins will be looking to end a three-game losing streak to the Gold and Blue.






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Series: 22-21-2 WVU
Thu 9-13-07 7:45 pm
College Park, MD

Byrd Stadium
Record: 2-0
USA/Coaches: 4th
Last Game
MU 48-23 W

Click for College Park, Maryland Forecast
Record: 2-0
USA/Coaches: NR
Last Game
FIU 26-10 W
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First Meeting: 1919
Last Meeting: 2006
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Injuries:

WVU: Keilen Dykes (Foot) Questionable, Ridwan Malik (Back) Probable, Archie Sims (Hamstring) Out, Nate Sowers (Hamstring) Out, Bobby Hathaway (Hand) Probable

Maryland:

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. Maryland defense

The Maryland defense is lead by Erin Henderson (6-3, 236), one of the top linebackers in the country. Henderson joined Steve Slaton on the 2007 Playboy Preseason All-America team. The junior is leading the Terrapins this season with 21 tackles with two pass breakups.

Joining Henderson at linebacker will be Moise Fokou (6-1, 216) and Dave Philistin (6-2, 231). Fokou and Philistin have combined for 15 stops. Fokou als has one sack.

Chase Bullock (6-2, 234) will also see significant time at the Mike position behind Philistin. Bullock has recorded three tackles in one game of action.

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Game Info
WVU 2-0, 0-0
UM 2-0, 0-0
Thu 9-13-07 7:45 pm
Byrd Stadium
Series: 22-21-2 WVU
TV: ESPN
Coaches: WVU-4 UM-NR
Line: WVU -17
Starting at the LEO position (a hybrid defensive end/linebacker position ) will be Trey Covington (6-3, 240). Covington has only six tackles this season but recorded seven tackles, including four solo, a half-sack and a pass breakup against the Mountaineers last season.

On the defensive line, Mike Dent will have his hands full with senior tackle Carlos Feliciano (6-5, 307). Feliciano is an outstanding run stuffer that has totaled 11 tackles this season.

Playing along side of Feliciano will be Jeremy Navarre (6-3, 262) and Dre Moore (6-4, 311). The duo has teamed for 10 tackles, including three sacks, in 2007

Starting at the cornerback positions for the Terps will be Kevin Barnes (6-1, 188) and Isaiah Gardner (5-11, 197). Both are candidates for All-ACC honors this year and have combined for 12 tackles. Barnes leads the team with two interceptions.

J.J. Justice (6-2, 222) and Christian Varner (5-11, 205) will be manning the safety positions. Justice and Varner, both seniors, have played in every game in their careers at Maryland, giving them a combined 74 games of experience. Varner is tied for second on the team in tackles with eleven, while Justice has recorded two stops to date.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked seventh in total offense (526.50 yds/game), second in rushing offense (339.00 yds/game) and 89th in passing offense (187.50 yds/game).

Maryland is ranked seventh in total defense (175.00 yds/game), 15th in rushing defense (46.50 yds/game) and 14th in passing defense (128.50 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. Maryland offense

In the Terps first two victories, Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen has kept the offense very basic, but with the Mountaineers coming to town, look for the Fridge to defrost some of his more potent plays.

Leading the offense will be junior signal caller Jordan Steffy (6-1, 209). Steffy, who recorded a school record for quarterbacks with a 355-pound bench press, has completed 74% of his passes (37-50) for 309 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. The Keystone State native is also a threat to run, gaining 65 yards (not including sacks) with one touchdown.

Joining Steffy in the backfield will be a combination of excellent runners. Keon Lattimore (5-11, 223), who got most of the touches on Thursday night against Florida International, averages an impressive 108.5 yards per game with five touchdowns. Teammate Lance Ball (5-9, 223) averages 4.2 yards per carry and has reached paydirt once.

Along with the weapons in the backfield, Steffy also has an outstanding group of receivers to play catch with. Darrius Heyward-Bey (6-2, 206) is Maryland's top receiver and possibly the fastest receiver in college football. The sophomore set the school record among wideouts with his 40 time of 4.23 in 2006. This season, the Maryland product has 10 receptions for 227 yards, with an average of 64.5 yards per contest. Look for Steffy and Heyward-Bey to test the Mountaineer secondary early and often on Thursday.

Other key receiving targets will be LaQuan Williams (6-1, 184), Danny Oquendo (6-0, 193) and tight end Joey Haynos (6-8, 260). The trio has combined for 11 receptions for 85 yards.

Paving a path for Steffy and company will be a mammoth offensive line lead by senior right guard Andrew Crummey (6-5, 301). Crummey, an All-ACC performer in 2006, has 35 games under his belt, including 30 as a starter.

Joining with Crummey in the trenches will be Scott Burley (6-5, 324), Jaimie Thomas (6-4, 339), Edwin Williams (6-2, 326) and Dane Randolph (6-5, 312). The group forms one of the biggest offensive lines in the country.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 50th in total defense (332.00 yds/game), 27th in rushing defense (76.50 yds/game) and 94th in passing defense (255.50 yds/game).

Maryland is ranked 83rd in total offense (349.00 yds/game), 45th in rushing offense (178.00 yds/game) and 96th in passing offense (171.00 yds/game).

Advantage: Push

WVU special teams vs. Maryland special teams

Entering the third game of the season, neither the Mountaineers' nor Terps' special teams have been very special.

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The Mountaineers have botched two PAT's, and allowed Marshall one long return after another, giving the Herd a short field for their offense.

For the Terrapins, punt returner Danny Oquendo and kick returner Terrell Skinner (6-2, 214) will try to get the Maryland special teams back on track. Oquendo, a junior, has returned six punts this season for an average of 8.8 yards with a long return of 19.

Skinner, a Florida native, has returned six kickoffs for 111 yards, an average of 18.5 per chance.

Handling the punting duties will be Travis Baltz (6-2, 200). Baltz is averaging 38.8 yards per punt. He has put six of his 11 attempts inside the 20 yard line. The freshman has also had three punts fair caught and a long boot of 52 yards.

Kicking field goals and extra points will be Obi Egekeze (6-2, 224). Egekeze has connected on two out of three field goal attempts, making kicks from 42 and 36 yards while missing a 52-yarder.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 92nd in net punting (31.50 yds/punt), 59th in kick returns (22.10 yds/return) and 46th in punt returns (11.63 yds/return).

Maryland is ranked 54th in net punting (36.00 yds/punt), 107th in kick returns (17.00 yds/return) and 60th in punt returns (8.83 yds/return)

Advantage: Push

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Wes Lyons

On Defense: Antonio Lewis

Prediction:

Rich Rodriguez meets Ralph Friedgen for the eighth time in seven seasons. Maryland and the Fridge lead that series four games to three, and something tells me that Rodriguez wants to even that record in a bad way. The importance of this game is magnified by the fact that Maryland has asked for a two-season reprieve from the series, so the winner of this game will carry bragging rights for at least two-plus years.

Look for Friedgen to unleash the Terrapin passing attack on WVU's suspect secondary, while Coach Rodriguez' rushing attack will try to top 300 yards for the fourth straight game.

Which coach will succeed? In Rod I Trust.

WVU - 35 Maryland - 32


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