September 5, 2011; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins defensive back Clarence Claiborne (right) and running back Brandon Ross (left) celebrate with fans after beating the Miami Hurricanes 32-24 at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Maryland Football v. West Virginia: Country Terp, Take It Home


The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (2-1) vs. West Virginia (2-0)

The Site: Milan Puskar Stadium. Morgantown, West Virginia

The Time: Saturday, 12 pm

TV, Radio, Internet: FX (TV), WTEM 980am and WJZ 105.7fm (Radio)

The Coaches: Randy Edsall (4-11 at Maryland) and Dana Holgorsen (12-3)

The History: A decades-long one that has seen West Virginia take the All-Time series lead 25-21-2 thanks to a six-game win streak.

Maryland is going to have its hands full stopping Air Geno and Co. tomorrow at Milan Puskar (an incredibly hostile environment). After suffering a loss to the coach Edsall’s former team, the Connecticut Huskies 24-21, the Terrapins may need some help from the Gods if they intend on taking down an even stronger opponent. Led by one of the best offenses in the nation, West Virginia has to be slowed down by the Terrapins defense in some manner or else the writing will already be on the wall.

Key Questions and Storylines

1.) Return of the Tate

News that Kenny Tate, Maryland’s once All-ACC linebacker/safety/do-it-all defender, is returning after injuring his knee in the preseason gave Terrapins fans a big boost heading into this game. Will he be the same guy who racked up sacks and interceptions in 2010 that put him in the discussion for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy? Or will he be a shade of his former self against West Virginia, who can only play every now and then in hopes of staying healthy? That’s the big question, because if he’s healthy and ready to rock, then this defense that is already incredibly good just got a whole lot better.

If Tate is healthy, Maryland has a fighting chance in this game, because he is that big of a game changer. He can get to the quarterback, line up at virtually every position, and get into Geno Smith’s head. He also has a decent history against West Virginia; in 2010, he returned an pick (off Jock Sanders) 53 yards for the Terrapins. Simply put, Kenny Tate being back is very big, because this will be the toughest defense the Mountaineers have faced all season long.

2.) Mike Locksley’s Play Calling

It’s no secret to anyone that the Terrapins offense is going through an identity crisis at the moment. At times they want to run a pro-style set, then other games they dive directly into single-formation spread offense. It’s probably hurting the development of the young Perry Hills more than it is helping, as he is being asked to do far too much on the offensive end. Will Locksley finally just run a more traditional West Coast ground-n-pound/short pass offense with the return of Brandon Ross? Or will the Terrapins continue pressing forward with that spread-offense which burns lots of clock but is highly predictable?

If Maryland can establish a run game and make Hills job a whole lot easier, then they are going to be in good shape. Clock management is absolutely crucial in this game, because keeping Geno Smith off the field means keeping points off the board. That’s basically the only way the Terrapins can win in all honesty; keeping the ball in their hands. It’s a cheap strategy, but it is a great strategy that works against high-octane offenses.

3.) Song Parody of the Week: Take it Home, Testudome (originally Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver)

Almost heaven, West Virginia?

Black lung coughing, polluted ‘Doah River?

Hard to read there, cause they ain’t go no books.

How’s that Heaven? Not as pretty as it looks.

(Chorus)

Terrapin!

Let me in,

to your shell!

WVU’s Hellllllllll

West Virginia, love your sistaaaa!

Testudo, take me home!

\

Geno Smith may, throw pretty damn well.

But he ain’t never, been against hell in a shell!

New formations, that’s all we really need,

Cause if WVU can’t read a book,

How could Geno read our D?

\

Terrapin,

let me in

to your shell!

WVU’s Hellllllll!

West Virginiaaaa, love your sistaaaa

Take me home, Testudo!

\

Stedman: a voice, in the morning hour she calls you.

It’s Oprah telling you, to get your ass back home.

Try to catch a ball you’ll get a feeling that you might

Get knocked into yesterdayyyyy, by Kenny Taaaaaaate.

(Refrain)

Terrapin,

let me in

to your shell!

WVU’s Hellllllll!

West Virginiaaaa, love your sistaaaa

Take me home, Testudo!

 

4.) Ross the Boss

Not only is Kenny Tate coming back on the defense, but the guy who won the starting running back job on offense returns as well in Brandon Ross. How good is he? Better yet, how healthy is he? While Wes Brown has won the starting job from Justus Pickett and Albert Reid, can Brandon Ross convince coach Edsall that he belongs as the starter? That won’t be a bad thing for the Terrapins if that’s the case, because it’s hard to get a whole lot better than Wes Brown has been. If those two can form a dynamic duo, then the Terps will have even more fire-power on an offense that desperately needs it.

I’m sure he’ll be rusty, and I’m certain that he may not see that many snaps, but in the few times that he does get them it is certain to be exciting. Brandon Ross is a strong runner and can help with clock management when healthy. Giving West Virginia a lot of different looks is huge, as their defense isn’t necessarily their strong point. In fact, they may not even be as good as Connecticut’s defense was.

Tags: Maryland Football Maryland Terrapins Preview West Virginia

  • Guest

    Nice song. And you wonder why WV fans are hostile. Reap what you sow. See you in Morgantown.