10. Watching Coach Ralph Friedgen walking around in pre-game, I can't help but wonder if this is the last time we'll face him. This series takes a two-year break before resuming for two more games in 2010, but perhaps he won't be at Maryland in two years' time. Or, the series could dissolve completely, even though both sides have said talks to extend the series are occurring. If I had to rank the top five coaches that I wanted to beat the most since 1980 I probably would go in this order: 5. Joe Paterno (with respect), 4. Jackie Sherrill, 3. Frank Beamer, 2. Dave Wannstedt and yes, 1. Ralph Friedgen. I believe that he has shown more disrespect toward the West Virginia program as any head coach.
9. I'm a little banged up right now. After the Marshall game last Saturday, I went to three youth football league games on Sunday (my daughters are cheerleaders), the Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati, and the WVU-Maryland game. I'll be heading to Wheeling Friday night for the Brooke at Wheeling Park game followed by Robert Morris University on Saturday and three more youth games this Sunday. With a little ice and some tape and I should be okay. As I tell my kids sometimes, you just need to tough it out.
8. If the old adage, "the acorn doesn't fall too far from the tree," is true, then we have two really good guys in Eric Jobe and Eric Rodemoyer. While waiting at the visitors' Will Call ticket line, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to both sets of parents as they compared their recruiting notes. They are really nice people.
7. Homeland Security issues color-coded terror advisory alerts. Maybe the same should be done for Noel Devine's performances. Using the same scale, he has gone from Elevated/Yellow to Orange/High based upon his performance against Marshall, and now to Red/Severe based upon his Maryland showing. His five carries for 136 yards were spectacular. If Patrick White, Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt and Darius Reynaud were not enough, opponents have to consider Devine's skill set and be terrified with his big play ability.
6. Vaughn Rivers is getting much more aggressive with his punt returns. With Vaughn you could always expect the safe, sure catch like former Mountaineer Lance Frazier. In the past two contests, he is becoming more like Pac man Jones (i.e. catching the ball in traffic and taking off). On a couple of the punts, I'm thinking - let it go, let it go – then he catches it and takes off. I'm getting the feeling that he'll break a long one soon.
5. Scooter Berry is really becoming an asset to the defensive line. While he may have initially been considered, "the player to be named later," in the recruiting process, he has clearly earned his strips, and with Johnny Dingle and Keilen Dykes has formed a very solid starting line. Berry also played a few snaps at nose against Maryland, and did a fine job of picking up for the banged up Dykes, who is not at 100%.
4. Three hundred fifty-three yards rushing on the road against a quality opponent is really unheard of. I'll have revisit this at the end of the season and count how many teams gain over 350 yards on the road against a team in a BCS conference. I'll likely be able to count the number of teams on one hand. However, I might not be all to count all of West Virginia's showings in the same manner.
3. Statistic of the game: After Maryland's first touchdown drive; their next seven possessions gained a net of 79 yards. If you buy into the theory that defense wins championships, then you had to be pleased with this effort. Maryland gained only 269 yards in the game, with 166 of them coming on their two scoring drives.
2. While the defense played a whale of a game, who will step up to be the big play guy? Keilen Dykes is the leader, but who is WVU's 2007 version of Mike Lorello (i.e., the guy making plays for loses)? Is it Johnny Dingle, Eric Wicks or Mortty Ivy? Will it eventually be Pat Lazear, who continues to blow up people on special teams? Coach Rodriguez likes playmakers and the Mountaineers need a couple on the defensive side as we head into the heart of the Big East schedule.
1. Lastly – West Virginia is one victory closer to playing the University of Southern California Trojans on January 7th in New Orleans.
See you in back in Morgantown next Saturday.