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More on the Maryland-West Virginia rivalry

FootballRandy Edsall

Quote of the day is from Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg about the West Virginia fans:

“You go in there and no one likes you. Even the little kids don’t  like you. I’ve seen little kids curse at you.”

Maryland heads to Morgantown on Saturday as four-touchdown underdogs against the No. 8 Mountaineers. That’s the biggest spread I’ve encountered in a Terps game since I’ve been on the beat.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall began his Tuesday media session with this: “We’ve got a tough one this week, that’s for sure. They’re averaging over 600 yards a game, 55 points a game. Our defense is going to have its work cut out for them.”

Lots of talk from the Terps today about how to slow down quarterback Geno Smith, whose career has included seven games in which he has completed 30 or more passes.

Here’s what Maryland needs to do: keep the ball for extended periods.

Last season, the Terps – with their hurry-up, spread offense – were often dominated in time of possession.  Their offense was so speeded-up that they might hold the ball for a minute if they went three-and-out.

This season, Maryland is still going with a no-huddle, but it’s designed to be a methodical no-huddle. It takes a little more time off the clock.

“Really, the best defense we can play is having our defense on the sideline,” Edsall said. “Yes, we need to possess the ball, we need to score points, we need to try to keep our defense off the field.”

Sustaining drives will require an improved running game. If you look at Maryland’s depth chart this week, it says that the starting tailback is “Justus Pickett or Brandon Ross or Wes Brown or Albert Reid.”

Edsall said that all four could play. I’d look for a big dose of Wes Brown, who is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Since Maryland’s offensive line remains a work-in-progress, you might want a big back like Brown (210 pounds) to create what he can on running plays.

If you’re a Terps fan, you also hope that Ross, the redshirt  freshman, can make his Maryland debut. He’s been out with a hamstring injury. He hasn’t yet played for the Terps, so he’d be tough for the Mountaineers to scout.

Maryland has a row of tombstones in which it memorializes programs it has beaten that rank in the Top 10.

Senior receiver Kevin Dorsey, who has never beaten the Mountaineers in his career, says a victory Saturday would “be nice ‘cause we’d get to put another tombstone by the practice field.”

But he knows what a major challenge his team faces.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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