Last week, Maryland breezed by FIU as expected, but showed some very good signs in the process. Most of all, was QB Jordan Steffy, who went 18/25 for 135 yards and avoided an interception in the game. After week 1 against Villanova, Steffy's decision making was in question, but this performance shows that he is prepared to be the starting QB for Maryland. The improvement is hopefully a sign of things to come in the future for Steffy and the Maryland passing game.
The running game of Maryland looked on top of it's game as usual. Collecting a total of 135 yards and 3 touchdowns, including 2 by Keon Lattimore in the first quarter, which turned out to be enough to win the game. Lance Ball looked good in the backfield as well, gobbling up 40 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, along with 3 catches for 31 yards.
The Maryland defense really stepped up in week 2, grabbing themselves two interceptions. Kevin Barnes and Adrain Moten had a pick a piece. The defense only got beat deep once on a 49 yards completion for a touchdown from FIU QB Wayne Younger to tight end Moses Hinton. Without that play, Maryland only gave up 32 passing yards and 82 yards on the ground, with only the one touchdown. It was an impressive showing, and Maryland will have to be on the top of their game, if they want to win against West Virginia.
West Virginia looked sluggish through the first 3 quarters last week against Marshall. But in the fourth quarter, they turned a 4 point lead into a 25 point lead, with 3 unanswered touchdowns with the running game to finish off Marshall. To go along with this lack of offensive production in the first 3 quarters, the West Virginia defense also gave up 2 touchdown passes of 30+yards in the game. The secondary showed that they are clearly a weak spot in the West Virginia defense, and with Darrius Heyward-Bey in the recieving core, Maryland has a golden opportunity to take advantage of that weakness.
When considering how well Maryland has been playing in all aspects of the game, and how poorly West Virginia has performed at times, their could be a legitimate chance at a Maryland upset over West Virginia. If Maryland can utilize all of their weapons in this game, and hold on to the ball on offense, then they should put up a good fight against West Virginia. However, considering the pure talent in the offense of West Virginia, with Pat White and Steve Slaton, West Virginia should be able to hold off the Terps in this one. My prediciton is West Virginia over Maryland 34-21.
Tune in to ESPN or your local channel for #4 West Virginia at Maryland on Thursday night at 7:45 P.M. ET.