COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If West Virginia's players had forgotten the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner, they'll have them memorized after today's game. The Terrapins unveil their all-America everything jerseys today in hopes that they might ride a patriotic tide to a second win in a row against the Mountaineers, who they spanked, 37-0, in Baltimore last September.
"They embarrassed us," receiver Kevin White said.
"It was ugly," special teams coordinator Joe DeForest said.
"It was bad," running backs coach JaJuan Seider said. "That's the only way to describe it. That's probably the worst game I've ever been a part of. There's nothing you can do right, and even if you try the weather came in and every time we had the ball it just gushed down out of the sky. We can't make no excuse, though, they kicked our butt."
Indeed, the Week 4 shutout was a defining moment in the Mountaineers' 4-8 season. West Virginia had six turnovers, set its defense up for failure and had nearly historically poor numbers in every offensive category. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said it was probably the first time his team has been shut out, but he also kind of said what everyone has been thinking for the past year.
"If you look from top to bottom, at this point last year I don't think we were very good," Dawson said. "I don't think anybody would disagree with that."
It's a little funny to think about. A year ago Friday, Dana Holgorsen named Ford Childress his starting quarterback. That's before Childress tore a pectoral muscle against Maryland and eventually was suspended and dropped from the team in the offseason. By then, it didn't really matter, because Clint Trickett had taken the reins and restored some semblance of cohesiveness to the West Virginia offense.
It's only Week 3, but a win today would do wonders for West Virginia's bowl hopes. Entering the conference slate 2-1 isn't half bad, but a 1-2 start would be pretty tough to overcome with this schedule. It's not impossible, it'd just be an uphill climb.
To add to the intrigue, it's a rivalry game, and West Virginia doesn't have many of those left.
"The Big 12 is trying to make it Iowa State, but that's not a rivalry for us," Seider said. "Maryland is the last rivalry we've got left, and we're not going to play them for a while, so we need to go out there and win."
Check back here for injury updates and news bullets throughout the day.
• Linebacker Wes Tonkery, listed earlier in the week as day-to-day with a leg injury, is dressed in sweats and will not play.
Matchup: Maryland (2-0) vs. West Virginia (1-1), noon today, Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.
TV, Radio, Internet: Big Ten Network, Mountaineer Sports Network, Sirius 84, XM 84.
Maryland: Returned 16 starters this season. … Has committed seven turnovers. … Has held opposing offenses to 32.5 percent conversions on third downs. … QB C.J. Brown is averaging just 156.0 passing yards, 93rd among Division I QBs through two games.
West Virginia: Holds 26-22-2 series lead against Maryland. … Had five players score rushing touchdowns against Towson. … First-team offense has not turned the ball over. … QB Trickett ranks among top-10 in interceptions (first), completions (third), completion percentage (fourth) and passing yards (seventh).
Hidden stat: West Virginia is 74-94-6 against schools from the Big Ten Conference but 3-1 under Holgorsen’s charge.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• West Virginia QB William Crest made his debut Saturday and will factor, in some way, into the Mountaineers game plan from here on out. His debut had a classic rookie mistake early, but that's quite alright when you're playing with a 40-point lead.
• Holgorsen said in his Tuesday presser that Maryland is exactly the same team it was a year ago when it put the Mountaineers to shame.
• Was Holgorsen crazy to ask more of his offense, the one that scored 54 points and had 606 yards of total offense against Towson? No, actually, he's got a point. West Virginia has struggled to make the big play.
• It's "payback" time. West Virginia's 37-0 loss at M&T Bank Stadium a year ago was brutal on every level. Some are hesitant to call it a grudge match, but the Mountaineers are no doubt using it as motivation today.
• Today's game starts a five-game gauntlet against teams West Virginia lost to last season. So, redemption road begins here and could well decide the Mountaineers' postseason bowl hopes.