Rutgers "Out for Blood"

West Virginia wants -- nay, needs -- to play as quickly as possible, head coach Rich Rodriguez said.

The Mountaineer players seem to have bounced back nicely from the upset loss to Maryland. But the team still needs to play a game quickly to bring the bounce back to the players' step.

"I think young men are more resilient than coaches," Rodriguez said. "Sometimes it is good to take a loss tough, like the team did, because it means that it means something."

WVU ended the non-conference portion of its slate at 3-2 and opens Big East play in a 3:30 road matchup at Rutgers. The game is key for any Blue and Gold bowl hopes.

"Three and two is not what we wanted, but so far we won more rounds than lost," Rodriguez said. "Still, we can't get panicky when somebody jumps up on us. That has happened twice. I told our guys that sometimes the other teams have good players that will make plays, too."

Rodriguez made the statement at a 45 minute team meeting called to refocus players.

"We have to get back to the hard-nosed style we were playing," Tim Love said. "We have to get back to not being so lackadaisical."

West Virginia was visibly shaken when Maryland jumped out to a 14-0 lead and all but gave up when the Terps pulled ahead 28-8. UM led 35-0 before WVU scored.

That (Maryland) was one we wanted," quarterback Rasheed Marshall said. "It was tough to swallow, but we need to move on. We need to be ready for Rutgers, not just because they struggled, but because they are a pretty good team."

Marshall came in at 9 a.m. Sunday to receive treatment and begin watching film of the 1-4 Scarlett Knights.

"He played his poorest game, no doubt," Rodriguez said. "He tried to do too much too soon, which is typical of young quarterbacks. They want to make a play and that causes them to speed up when they should actually slow down."

Marshall addressed his miss of some plays, and is looking at the Knights, not back to a game he cannot change, though he is learning from it. West Virginia must do the same, as league play opens with a team bent on revenge.

The Mountaineers, 15-point favorites this year, ripped RU 80-7 at home last season. Combine that with a Knight team that is improving and coming off an off-week, WVU's last emotionally-draining loss and the poor play that has become a tradition at Rutgers and one has the ingredients for an upset.

WVU lost back-to-back road games at Rutgers in 1992 and ‘94. In 1998, when West Virginia had one of its most-talented teams, it won 28-14. It took the Mountaineers double overtime to prevail 31-24 in the last meeting in Piscataway, N.J.

"A lot of times it might be overlooking them, not thinking they are good or that we can easily beat them," receiver A.J. Nastasi said. "They are scary like that, being overlooked. We need to just go in and play. We can't overlook anybody. We still have a lot to prove and maybe that is the best thing, us having a lot to prove."

"We are what we are," Rodriguez said. "Every Saturday is going to be a challenge for us. Every Saturday."

Musket Blasts:

Defensive tackle Ernest Hunter is likely out for the remainder of the season after breaking his fibia. Time Love, David Upchurch, Kelvin Dubose and Fred Bluford will rotate along the line.

Brian King and Arthur Harrison are questionable. King has a deep thigh bruise. A.J. Nastasi is doubtful with a high ankle sprain. He can hold if necessary.

*Rodriguez said the offensive line made more mistakes against Maryland than in the other four games combined. "As a group they just lost focus," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't the same guy all the time." Which is worse.

*Co-defensive coordinator Todd Graham said Rutgers tight end L.J. Smith is a Jeremy Shockey-type talent. Shockey was a former Miami Hurricane and current New York Giant.

"He is in the same league with Shockey," Graham said. "He is what scares me most. AS far as Rutgers, they have struggled with turnovers, but they ran the ball well. They key is stopping the run and no big plays. They will try a lot of trick stuff, too. They are very unorthodox.

"We better get ready for Rutgers because they played Pitt and Tennessee close. They were terrible early in the year but have come along. These guys will be out for blood."

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