September 22, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) and running back Shawne Alston (20) before playing the Maryland Terrapins at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Well, once again the HailWV.com staff correctly predicted a Mountaineers victory over the Terrapins. Of course, we all were taking the Mountaineers to win by more than 20 points. The game was far closer than we had predicted, but our player predictions were pretty solid.
Ken Durbin’s Prediction: Geno will throw for more than 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. Geno will protect the ball, throwing 0 interceptions.
The air raid offense was still in effect against the 8th ranked defense. Geno Smith played pretty well in the face of an outstanding Twerps pass rush, showing that he is more than deserving of his Heisman trophy talk. Geno threw for 338 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Not too bad of a prediction if I do type so myself. On the overall score prediction, I figured that the Maryland defense would do a good job of slowing down the WVU offense. I thought that the Mountaineers would still be able to put up points, mostly due to the ineffectiveness of the Terrapins offense. Stefon Diggs carried the Terps offense, keeping the game from being a blow-out. Instead of WVU winning by my predicted margin of 44-19, they only pulled out a 31-21 victory. Not a great victory, but a solid win in a rivalry game.
Brandon Miller’s Prediction: Tavon Austin goes for 200+ yards receiving, 3 TDs, and at least one play that goes for more than 60 yards. And if one of the kickoffs of the game is returnable, look for Tavon to take it into the Terrapin endzone.
I predicted 200 yards and 3 TDs for Tavon Austin against Maryland, and I was pretty much spot on. He finished the game with 13 receptions for 179 yards and 3 TDs and added 4 yards on the ground, for a total of 183 yards/3 TDs. Austin was the goto target for Geno Smith and broke a few plays for extra yardage. My prediction of a kick return TD didn’t really pan out, as Austin only got 1 return for 20 yards.
As far as the game score is concerned, I probably shouldn’t have dismissed the possibility of this being a trap game so easily. It was. The offense had a hard time getting into rhythm and the defense was inconsistent. I was encouraged by the amount of pressure our defense put on the Maryland QB. Lots to work to do on both sides, but I think we’ll be fine. Despite our inconsistent play, we still won. That’s the sign of a really good team.
Alan Searles’ Prediction: I am going with 136 yards and two scores with Tavon.
Well, I was 50% right. TA had a monster game but the WVU offense failed to fire on full cylinders. Whether you want to credit the close game to an underrated Maryland defense, the absence of Alston, lack of focus, or an overrated offense, we will figure out the truth in the near term. The defense fired up some good plays, but just couldn’t get the Terps off the field on third down enough to make it a comfortable win. Both sides will need to execute better in the coming weeks.
Patrick Pishko’s Prediction: Alston will rush for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns, punishing the Maryland secondary. Bonus Prediction: Jordan Thompson will emerge with 65 yards and a touchdown. Thompson will also pull off a 40 yard run, making Maryland linebackers lose their jocks!
Well, I completely bit it this week; Alston was an in-game decision and Jordan Thompson is still failing to separate himself from the pack; kind of difficult to do when Tavon is seemingly untouchable. I felt as though WVU would rely on the running game in order to bring the safeties down and get the corners closer to the line, but without Alston in the lineup, that did not happen. Could also be a product of what I witnessed as very vanilla running play calling; it seemed as though the same play was ran over and over, alternating between strong and weak sides.
I was pleased to see the pressure our defense placed upon the young Maryland QB Hills, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The secondary looked horrible and Edsall clearly took a page from Syracuse’s playbook in exposing our inability to cover the tight end. I’m hoping to see more aggression from our CB’s at the line and less of a cushion when we start BIG XII play next week.
I’m glad we came out with a win, albeit not a very smooth one. I’m sure Patterson and DeForest will be back at it this week, reiterating and enforcing the fundamentals of the game. These young players cannot just rely on the sheer athletic ability they did in high school; they are now D-I players. The disparity between talent levels and skills sets between all of those on the playing field is much smaller now.