1.) Penalties will play a deciding factor in this game
Maryland and West Virginia are two teams on the opposite end of the penalties spectrum. While West Virginia has 17 penalties through their first three games, the Maryland Terrapins have only committed seven. In terms of on-field discipline, Edsall-led teams have been among the best in the nation at eliminating mental errors. The Achilles heel for West Virginia, on the other hand, has been their lack of.
It stands to reason that if this trend continues, the Terrapins will be at a significant advantage at the end of the game. We’ve seen plenty of times this season where a Maryland opponent has kept their defense on the field and prolonged a drive due to unnecessary penalties. If West Virginia gives the Terps a chance to extend a stagnant offense with a bunch of gimmes, they’ll be in good shape.
The same goes for Maryland, however. If the Terps feed of what might be a very Maryland-centric crowd and commit unnecessary errors, they will be in for a world of hurt against an offense that has been ranked top-15 in the nation year after year under Dana Holgorsen.
2.) Weather could be an issue, and so should turnovers.
The forecast is calling for large amounts of rain about midway through the game, and inclement weather conditions could turn an air-raid into an all-out trench battle. As it stands, both teams are more than adept at running the football, with Maryland having the slight edge. Running back Brandon Ross has rushed for 265 yards through three games and is averaging over five yards a carry. Then of course, there’s always C.J. Brown, who leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with 257 and five (respectively).
West Virginia is no slouch either, though. Charles Sims is averaging a shade under 100 yards per game, and has given the West Virginia attack a bit of balance. Couple that with Dreamius Smith, who is also averaging over five yards per carry, and you’ve got a pretty potent attack. Both teams are capable of exacting some damage on the ground, and it’s a matter of who can adjust to the conditions effectively.
If the weather gets pretty poor, it’s also going to affect how well both teams hold onto the ball. The Maryland running game had some fumbling issues last year, and those same problems resurfaced against Connecticut. If they can’t hold onto the ball in inclement weather, things won’t be easy for them throughout this game.