Maryland vs. West Virginia

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

OFFENSE

Both teams run well, but Maryland has the edge in passing. Terps QB Scott McBrien is 2-0 against his former team and threw for 220 yards and one touchdown in 34-7 victory on Sept. 20. Running back Bruce Perry scored two touchdowns as Maryland outgained West Virginia 498-267. Mountaineers quarterback Rasheed Washington was only two of seven for 25 yards in the earlier meeting. West Virginia will rely more on running back Otis Wilson (1,331 yards). Edge: Maryland

DEFENSE

Maryland's secondary held West Virginia to just three completions in first meeting and the Terps' senior-dominated unit is playing even better now. Maryland can cover West Virginia man-to-man and let the front seven concentrate on the Mountaineers runners. That leaves West Virginia little chance to fool Maryland. The Mounatineers defense was constantly off-balanced in the team's earlier loss to the Terps and allowed at least 23 points in its final four games. Look for Maryland to test West Virginia's secondary early, post a big lead and then switch to ball control. Edge: Maryland

SPECIAL TEAMS

Normally, Maryland gets the edge off kicker Nick Novak alone. However, the All-ACC kicker who's already the Terps all-time leading scorer as a junior missed three extra points in the final two games. However, he also booted a game-winning field goal against N.C. State. The time off should help. Terps returner Steve Suter meets a team willing to test him. Mountaineers returner Adam Jones is solid on kickoffs (26.8 yards) while Lance Frazier (23.5) was a breakout punt returner. Kicker Brad Cooper converted only 11 of 17 field goals, including one of six from 40 yards or more. Edge: Maryland

INTANGIBLES

West Virginia has the incentive in the rematch. The Mountaineers won their final seven games. However, Maryland finished 9-1 and knows it manhandled West Virginia when it wasn't playing its best ball. The only question is whether Maryland lets down knowing a second victory over West Virginia won't enhance its national image. Edge: West Virginia

INJURIES

Maryland: Out - QB Orlando Evans (knee). Probable - WR Rich Parson (migraines), WR Derrick Fenner (appendix), DE Scott Smith (back). West Virginia: Out - OT Tim Brown (heel), FS Jahmile Addae (shoulder). Doubtful - DE Pat Liebig (knee), DE Fred Blueford (knee), RB Erick Phillips (knee).

PREDICTION

It won't be as convincing as the earlier 27-point victory, but the Terps are still the better team. …