September 22, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; Maryland Terrapins running back Brandon Ross (45) carries against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
How it happened
Geno Smith and Co., had some actual issues with Maryland’s stingy defense early, but they clicked on enough drives to put the game away as the Terrapins fell 31-21 to the West Virginia Mountaineers. Led by Tavon Austin’s absurd 13 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns was unbeatable, and the Terrapins were hurt by his big-play ability.
Player of the Game
Tavon Austin: 13 receptions, 179 yards, 3 touchdowns
That stat line is all that really needs to be said, as Tavon was the big reason why the Mountaineers won this game. The Terrapins played him closely, but when someone is as elusive as him, it’s just hard to stop. He created mismatches in the secondary for long strikes and couldn’t be contained for long. With that game, he became West Virginia’s All-Time leader in receptions with 208, and that is to be commended. Without him, this game is a whole lot closer, as Stedman Bailey was shut down almost completely.
Goat of the Game
West Virginia’s national respectability
Yes, they won the game. But that’s about all they did, as any suggestion that this team is a national contender is laughable at best. Their defense is downright bad, as they allowed Perry Hills to throw for 305 yards (6 yards more than his past two games combined) and three touchdowns. Geno Smith looked good, albeit a little rattled, but the offense looked extremely one-dimensional and not ready for prime time.
Putting up points is one thing, but the offense sputtered a bit against a good defense, and there are legitimate concerns about their ability to run the ball (though in fairness, their back was injured).
Maryland Player of the Game
Stefon Diggs: 3 receptions, 113 yards, 2 TDs
Diggs again displayed his uncanny ability to make plays anywhere on the field at any time against West Virginia, accounting for 14 of Maryland’s 21 points. He just keeps getting better and better every single game, and his impact on the field is felt everywhere. He and Tavon Austin were very clearly the best players on the field, and that’s something to be said for a true freshman. Even with his muffed punt (something that is mildly concerning since it’s happened twice now), Diggs had the best game of his college career and gave Maryland fans reason to have hope. Being able to build around that guy for the next three years means a bright future for a team that desperately needs to get back to legitimacy.
Randy Edsall Seat Thermometer
Randy coached one heck of a game, to be honest. The Terrapins came out fired up and marched down the field. Unfortunately, there is little you can do about a missed field goal, a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and the occasional dropped ball. They are things that plague a young team, but I’ll be damned if anyone tells me that Randy isn’t doing one heck of a job coaching these kids up to their competition. They just competitively played the 9th ranked team in the nation, and look much more like a 6 win team than one that is going to be stuck on two wins for the rest of the season.
- Brandon Ross was only so-so in his return as the #1 running back, rushing 20 times for only 52 yards (2.6 YPC)
- The number of carries freshman Wes Brown received, despite rushing incredibly well against Connecticut last week.
- The number of receptions Stefon Diggs had, which he turned into 14 points
- The number of receptions by Matt Furstenburg, who had 65 yards and came up clutch on numerous third downs.
- The number of penalties Maryland had, which cost them 31 yards.
Maryland comes back home to take on Wake Forest in their ACC opener. Wake Forest is 3-1, but has been inconsistent. They followed up their blowout loss last week to Florida State with a 49 point win over Army. Unfortunately, they gave up 37 points total, which bodes well for the Terrapins offense who thrives against bad defense. No shock there.