West Virginia (2-1) vs. Maryland (3-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 21, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M&T Bank Stadium (71,008) -- Baltimore, Maryland. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: WVU 2-0, Maryland 2-0. Away Record: WVU 0-1, Maryland 1-0. Neutral Record: WVU 0-0, Maryland 0-0. Conference Record: WVU 0-1, Maryland 0-0. Series Record: WVU leads, 26-21-2.
GAME NOTES: The Big 12 meets the ACC, as the Maryland Terrapins are set to tangle with the West Virginia Mountaineers at M&T Bank Stadium.
West Virginia is coming off last weekend's 41-7 win over FCS school Georgia State, which came a week after a tough 16-7 road loss to No. 14 Oklahoma. This will be the final non-conference matchup on the schedule for the Mountaineers, who resume Big 12 play next week against 11th-ranked Oklahoma State.
Maryland is 3-0 for the first time since the 2001 team began the year 7-0 and went on to win the ACC Championship and earn a spot in the Orange Bowl. The Terrapins won their road opener at Connecticut this past Saturday, 32-21.
WVU has won each of the last seven meetings between these border rivals, and the Mountaineers lead the all-time series, 26-21-2.
Freshman quarterback Ford Childress threw three touchdown passes in his collegiate debut against Georgia State. Childress got the start over junior Paul Millard, who started the first two games, with mixed results. Childress took advantage of his opportunity and completed 25-of-41 passes for 359 yards. Charles Sims headlined the ground game for the Mountaineers (2-1), as he ran for 116 yards and a TD on 18 carries. It was a 20-7 game entering the fourth quarter, but WVU scored three unanswered touchdowns in the final frame to erase any doubt. WVU finished the game with a 604-220 edge in total offense
Through three games, the Mountaineer defense ranks eighth nationally in passing yards allowed (136.7 ypg). Redshirt sophomore linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski leads the team with 27 tackles, including two for loss and a forced fumble. Senior safety Darwin Cook is next in line with 20 stops to go along with a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Last week, the Mountaineers limited Georgia State to just 10 first downs and 220 yards of total offense for the game. The Panthers were 3-of-13 on third down and they never ventured into the red zone. Kwiatkoski led the way with nine tackles (eight solo) and a sack, while Kyle Rose chipped in with six stops, including 1.5 for loss.
The Terrapin offense has looked to be in midseason form, as the unit enters the weekend ranked 10th nationally in total offense (554.7 ypg). In fact, the Terps are one of only three schools in the nation to go over 500 total yards of offense in all three games so far this season. Against UConn, C.J. Brown threw for 277 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for a season-high 122 yards and a score. His 399 total yards marked the most by a Maryland player since Danny O'Brien (408) in 2010. Brown's favorite target, wideout Stefon Diggs, went over 100 yards receiving for the second straight game as he finished with five catches for 110 yards and one touchdown. He has caught at least one touchdown in five of his last seven games played dating back to last season.
Maryland also got after it on the defensive end, sacking Huskies quarterback Chandler Whitmer six times in addition to coming away with a pair of interceptions. The six sacks were the most by a Terp defense notching six against Virginia in 2005. The run defense was also quite stingy, as the Huskies were held to a mere 25 rushing yards for the game. Maryland currently ranks 17th in the nation in total defense (296.3 ypg) and 18th in scoring defense (13.7 ppg). UConn recorded three of its own takeaways, but the defense limited those miscues to only three points on the other end. Linebacker Marcus Whitfield notched three sacks (one of which resulted in a safety) and now leads the nation with 5.5 on the season. Fellow linebackers Yannik Cudjoe- Virgil (2.5 sacks) and Cole Farrand (career-high 12 tackles) also impacted the game , as the three-man defensive front occupied plenty of blockers for the linebackers to roam free and make plays. Senior defensive back Dexter McDougle had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a score.
Maryland has not beaten West Virginia in the regular season since 2003. Playing at nearby M&T Bank Stadium, against a freshman quarterback, could very well mark the end of that stretch, especially with the way Brown is playing right now.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 24, West Virginia 20
09/18 10:33:32 ET