This page says it all. Through two games, Maryland’s football team is 19th in rushing, 23rd in points for and 10th in points against, nationally. Good news.
Maryland is also 116th in passing yards, averaging just 80 per game. Bad news.
So what can we expect when Maryland faces rival No. 21 West Virginia at noon on Saturday?
QB Jamarr Robinson’s 11-yard passing performance against Navy is torpedoing the average, so it can be expected that Maryland is a better passing team than those numbers say. But how much better? Ideally, even mixing in freshman Danny O’Brien’s arm, this is a running team. I will note it is fantastic to be giving a newcomer some time under center though.
So let’s say that Maryland can count on 150 passing yards a game. And more times than not, probably a TD toss to Torrey Smith. Aside from that, the Terps will be a rushing team. Robinson has some legs, but David Meggett may be the star of this team. He’s rushed just 16 times…for 155 yards. And that’s sharing carries with Da’Rel Scott, who is no slouch himself.
The trouble with having a weak passing game is a strong rushing defense can make a game instantly unwatchable. West Virgina allowed 63 rushing yards to Coastal Carolina; 135 to Marshall. Maryland might not reach their average of 241 rushing yards, but their game is certainly stronger than Marshall’s.
The Terps beat Division I-AA Morgan State 62-3 last week. Fantastic. This team can beat the bad teams and hang with the good ones, a great recipe for a bowl-eligible season. But hidden under that 62-3 veneer is a team that will have to win in a grind-it-out style much closer to that of the win against Navy than the win over MSU.
Meanwhile, West Virginia pulls in with quarterback Geno Smith averaging close to 300 yards passing a game and running back Noel Levine turning in to 100+ yards rushing performance. But that’s against two lesser teams. West Virginia is a school that has never been exactly known for a nuanced attack. They can definitely hang with whatever grit Maryland has accumulated this year. But at No. 21 and looking vulnerable after an OT win against Marshall, this is a game the Terps can definitely win.
Vegas is jocking WVU to the tune of 10 points as of Thursday. That’s fine. Anyone who has followed Maryland for awhile knows they do best without a buzz. They don’t have one yet. But they might by Saturday afternoon.