Game one is behind them. The FCS school is out of the way. It’s Week 3 and time to get down to football.
The West Virginia University Mountaineers have jumped into the Top 20 and are now ready to put the rankings to the test.
The Mountaineers will take on the Maryland Terrapins in College Park on Saturday.
This will be WVU’s first road game of the season and first real challenge for Head Coach Dana Holgorsen.
As with every game, there are things that will play key roles for both teams.
These key roles involve which adjustments will need to be made, what players will get most of the playing time and what the other team will do.
Here are five “keys to the game,” each team will consider going into Saturday’s game.
Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Ivan McCartney are just three of the names that the Terrapins will need to keep a close eye on when the ball is in the air.
The Terps will have their hands full with those guys plus Ryan Nehlen, Tyler Urban and Brad Starks.
Maryland must not allow any of these to get a good look, especially in the middle of the field.
Running Back Davin Meggett—Doak Walker Award candidate—is the Terps' leading rusher.
Meggett rushed for 126 yards during the season-opening win against the Miami Hurricanes.
Meggett has the ability to run over just about anything standing in his way.
WVU’s Will Clarke and Bruce Irvin must protect the outside while Julian Miller plugs the middle.
The Mountaineer defense is up to the challenge.
However, Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall is quite familiar with the Jeff Casteel’s scheme—Edsall came to Maryland from the Big East’s UConn.
During the Mountaineers’ first two games, they failed to make a real impact while running the ball.
Although there are several running backs who could step up and play a large role in the WVU offense, one has yet to do so.
Andrew Buie and Vernard Roberts seem to be the go-to guys, but Dustin Garrison showed us during last week’s game that he can give them a run for their money when it comes to getting the ball and getting the yards.
West Virginia special teams have yet to show that they are special.
From making field goals to making tackles, the special teams have a long way to go in order to make their marks.
WVU must concentrate on the play of the special teams if they expect to continue to win.
If you have watched or listened to either of the West Virginia games this season, you have noticed that quarterback Geno Smith has matured into one of the best quarterbacks in WVU history.
Smith knows where to throw the ball.
When he can’t find someone to catch it, he knows how to retreat and come up with a better plan.
He then knows how to execute the new plan, all in a matter of one to three seconds.
If the Terrapins hope to gain any momentum, they will need to hone in on Smith while protecting themselves from an air raid.
Expect the Mountaineers to be victorious over the Terrapins.
However, it will be a hard fought battle from both sidelines.