It is that time of year when we play the Maryland Terrapins. Sad to say, but with the move to the Big XII, Maryland is the one true rival West Virginia has left. Pittsburgh would rather lose to Youngstown State than play the Mountaineers. Virginia Tech would rather lose to Pittsburgh. So for the forseeable future, the Terps are the top rivalry we have (at least until we fire up a Big XII rivalry).
With that in mind, let’s get to the our Bold Predictions. Wouldn’t you know it, a couple of our experts are in line with their predictions, expecting big things from Tavon Austin. Given the way Austin steps up his game whenever he plays his home state’s team.
The Terrapins boast one of the nation’s finest defenses. Maryland is 8th in total defense through three games. The Terps front seven are stout against the run and have played pretty well against the pass. Of course there first three games were against weak offensive teams (William & Mary, Temple, and Connecticut). The Mountaineers offense is in a hole different league compared to those teams. This Saturday’s match-up will be an interesting test to determine just how good the WVU offense is and just how good Maryland’s defense is. I suspect that the Terps defense is not quite as good as their #8 ranking would indicate and the Mountaineers air raid attack will be able to put up points.
Just who am I expecting to put up points you ask? No other than the 2013 Heisman Trophy front runner, Geno Smith. I am looking for Smith to play up to par against a much better defense than he has faced to this point. Geno will throw for more than 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. Geno will protect the ball, throwing 0 interceptions.
In terms of the game overall, I like the Mountaineers to win convincingly. I think the score will be somewhat subdued as a result of Maryland’s defense. Look for the Mountaineers to win 44-19.
It seems funny to say this because his stat lines have been very good (109 rushing + receiving yards, 1 TD vs Marshall and 127 yards, 1 TD vs JMU), but Tavon Austin has had a pretty quiet first two games, by his standards. I think he breaks out against Maryland with 200+ yards, 3 TDs, and at least one play that goes for more than 60 yards. And if one of the few Maryland kickoffs of the game is returnable, look for Tavon to take it into the Terrapin endzone.
This game feels like a trap game, but I don’t think it matters. Talent gap is too wide. WVU beats the Turtles 55 – 13.
As I gaze into my Mario Cristobal, I see many beers beginning at approximately 8:30 on Saturday. Peering a bit further, after a successful entrance into Milan Puskar, I see Tavon Austin having the game of the year. In two career games versus the Terps, Tavon has 18 catches, for 228 yards and two touchdowns. In his senior year against the hometown boys, who happen to be rather terrible this year, look for Austin to rip it up. Perhaps Stedman will even pitch one to TA in a well executed hook n ladder in the second half to boost his stats for this game, but the second half is looking very cloudy with all those beers (damn you Oliver!). I am going with 136 yards and two scores with Tavon.
As for a final tally, I’ll throw out 56-3. My gut was to boost each side of the ledger, but statistically speaking Maryland is actually a top ten defense. The most yards they have given up all year through three games, was 230 versus Temple. Non-statistically speaking they have played offensive juggernauts of Bill and Mary, Temple, and the Fighting Pasqualonis. However; they are 122 in the nation in offense, right ahead of the Green Wave of Tulane and those pesky Minutemen of UMass. The over is set at 62; may be worth taking.
I usually like to look at history, but with my condensed schedule today, I’ll skip right to the predictions. Alston will rush for 78 yards and two touchdowns, punishing the Maryland secondary. Bonus prediction: Jordan Thompson will emerge with 65 yards and a touchdown. Thomspon will also pull off a 40 yard run, making Maryland linebackers lose their jocks!