The Maryland Terrapins (2-1) will head west to play the No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0) in Morgantown this weekend.
WVU has won the last six meetings between the two teams and won a shootout in College Park last September.
Maryland has not beaten the Mountaineers since its 41-7 win in the 2003 Gator Bowl. It's been 10 years since the Terps beat WVU on the road last in 2002.
Saturday afternoon's non-conference showdown in the mountains of West Virginia promises to produce some fireworks.
Here is everything you need to know before kickoff of one of college football's most underrated rivalry matchups.
Where: Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV
When: Saturday, September 22 at 12 p.m. ET
Listen: WJZ 105.7 FM (Baltimore), WVAQ 101.9 FM (Morgantown)
Live Streaming: TerpsTV
Betting Line: West Virginia (-28), according to Covers.com.
The rivalry between Maryland and West Virginia on the gridiron dates back to 1919. The Mountaineers lead the all-time series 25-21-2, and can extend their win streak over the Terps to seven straight with a win on Saturday. No team has won more than six consecutive games in this series since it began more than 90 years ago. The two teams agreed to extend the series through 2017 two years ago.
Who May Not Play for Maryland
*According to USA Today
FB Tyler Cierski (Concussion), questionable for Saturday
DB Rashid Conteh (Ankle), questionable for Saturday
K Nick Ferrara (Hip), questionable for Saturday
DB A.J. Hendy (Ankle), questionable for Saturday
DL Andre Monroe (Knee), out for season
LB Kenny Tate (Knee), out until late September
QB C.J. Brown (Knee), out for season
Who May Not Play for West Virginia
*According to USA Today
RB Dustin Garrison (Knee), out indefinitely
West Virginia enters this weekend's game ranked No. 8 in the AP Top 25, while Maryland comes in unranked. Surely an upset win on the road would elevate the Terps into the Top 25, but that's a lot to ask of an over-matched and undermanned squad.
A win will probably keep the Mountaineers steady at No. 8 unless another top team falls in Week 4. On the other hand, a loss would likely drop WVU 10-15 spots in the rankings if not out of them completely.
What They're Saying
Second-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall acknowledged that the Terps have some decisions to make as far as who will see the majority of the carries out of their backfield on Saturday (via The Washington Post's Alex Prewitt):
That’s something we’ll evaluate this week with Brandon and Wes and all the running backs we have. We haven’t sat down and talked as a staff yet about that. We’ll start doing that tonight and tomorrow and go from there.
Freshman Wes Brown and sophomore Justis Pickett have combined for 240 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 57 carries for Maryland this season.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is well aware of the rivalry between the Mountaineers and Terps (via The Washington Post's Alex Prewitt):
This is one that remains on the schedule, because it’s one that has so much meaning. We have dozen or so guys from Maryland that know their players, and we go up against Maryland a lot in recruiting, so there’s a lot of familiarity between the two programs.
Holgorsen is 1-0 against Maryland as head man in Morgantown.
Maryland Player to Watch
Terps freshman Stefon Diggs is the player to watch for Maryland on Saturday. The 6'1" college football rookie has nine catches and five carries in three games this season. He has 166 total yards of offense and has scored once as well.
Diggs was highly-touted coming out of high school and is sure to excite whenever he touches the ball against West Virginia this weekend.
West Virginia Player to Watch
Sophomore Andrew Buie is a unique talent that will give Maryland trouble all day long. The 5'9" playmaker has more than 100 yards rushing and receiving through two games, and is averaging 8.5 and 13.4 yards per rush and receptions respectively.
Buie has touched the ball just 22 times this season as a rusher and receiver, but will likely have his number called early and often against the best defense the Mountaineers have faced thus far in 2012.
The key matchup on Saturday afternoon will be the West Virginia aerial attack versus the Maryland pass defense. The Mountaineers rank second in the nation in passing offense, racking up roughly 386 yards per game through the air. On the other side of the ball, the Terps are allowing under 125 passing yards per game in 2012.
Something has to give this weekend, and my bet is that it will be the Maryland defense. WVU senior quarterback Geno Smith has thrown for 734 yards and nine touchdowns in just two games this fall. The Terps have yet to face such a talented signal-caller and explosive group of wide receivers.
On the Hot Seat
Who else but Randy Edsall? The Terps head coach is just 4-11 at Maryland since taking over in 2011. Edsall came close to beating West Virginia in College Park last September, but his team fell 37-31. It was just one of their 10 losses last season.
Edsall has helped cool his seat off a little with two straight wins to open the season. But after a home loss to Connecticut last weekend, a loss at West Virginia this Saturday would have Edsall and the Terps at 2-2 on the year. Needless to say his seat would be getting hotter.
The Mountaineers are the superior team by a long shot, and will have the crowd behind them playing at home. Meanwhile, Maryland will send a freshman quarterback into hostile territory in Morgantown, where the noise and pressure from the Mountaineers' defense will force him to make costly mistakes. West Virginia's offense keeps rolling and the Mountaineers win big at home.
West Virginia 38, Maryland 17
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