Weekly Gameplan: Rivalry renewed when Terps travel to Morgantown


Sep 13, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Rushel Shell (7) avoids a tackle by Maryland Terrapins defensive back Jeremiah Johnson (14) at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins come into this game with a 2-1 record, after an impressive bounce back victory over South Florida in Week 3. The West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0) have had the Terps’ number, for the most part, over the past few years. The Mountaineers haven’t been tested yet this season, so Maryland may provide them with an interesting challenge this week.

Game Details:

When: Saturday Sept. 26 @ 3pm

Where: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, WV

How to Watch: Fox Sports 1

Opposing Players to Watch:

Howard has solidified himself as Dana Holgorsen‘s starting quarterback. He has looked sharp through the first two games, throwing for 622 yards and five touchdowns. Howard has completed 72.5 percent of his passes on the season. The Terps’ defense gave up a monster day to Bowling Green’s passing offense, so Howard definitely has an intriguing opportunity before him. 

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Smallwood is one of Howard’s favorite weapons. He has 231 total yards on the season, but his touches are likely to increase against a better opponent in Maryland. His speed and athleticism make him a very dangerous player in open space. Smallwood is no small factor because he can beat you on the ground and catching the ball out of the backfield.

Sep 12, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; Liberty Flames running back D.J. Abnar (2) and West Virginia Mountaineers safety Karl Joseph exchange words after a play during the second quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Joseph is one of the unquestioned leaders of this Mountaineer football team. He has recorded 11 tackles through two games and had a career day against Georgia Southern, picking off three passes in one game. Joseph is well-known for his bone-crushing hits, but he has been improving as a tackler. Expect him to be all over the field on Saturday.

The senior leads the Mountaineers in tackles with 14 for the season. Kwiatkoski has never really been a flashy player, but he always gets the job done. The Terps have struggled to get their running game going since the season opener and Kwiatkoski will do everything he can to keep it that way on Saturday. He will be the key to this defense getting back on track.

Three Things to Watch:

1. Maryland’s veteran CB’s vs. WVU’s young receivers

West Virginia has some young talented players at the wide receiver position, but they have yet to face a true test. Jovon Durante and Shelton Gibson have both been pretty impressive thus far on the young season, but this week, they matchup with All-Big Ten corner Will Likely and senior Sean Davis, who is coming off of a two interception game. Whoever wins the battle could win the game.

2. Can Rowe cut down on turnovers?

Caleb Rowe staked his claim on the starting quarterback spot at Maryland with his Week 3 performance, but it wasn’t perfect by any stretch. He threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball twice, but luckily the Terps recovered both times. Although the Mountaineers’ defense isn’t spectacular, it’s the best Maryland has faced this season and the offense cannot afford to give the ball back to West Virginia’s explosive offense.

3. Avoiding Likely

Whenever a team plays Maryland, their No. 1 priority is stopping Will Likely. Likely is one of the most dangerous return men in the nation. He’s already scored twice and is averaging 29 yards per kick return and 28.1 yards per punt return. He’s one of the main reasons the Terps lead the nation in starting field position. The Mountaineers are favorited, but Likely is good enough to make things interesting.


West Virginia is the heavy favorite to win this game (17.5) and rightfully so. Maryland has been pretty inconsistent this season, but I like them to keep this game interesting. With neither defense being a dominating force, both offenses will be able to put some points on the board. It will ultimately come down to which defense can make the most stops and an experienced Mountaineer defense should be able to get some stops against a very young Terps offense.

West Virginia 38, Maryland 27

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