No. 8 West Virginia 31, Maryland 21
Kicking Off: Maryland fell to 2-2 on the season while No. 8 West Virginia improved to 3-0 with a 31-21 win … the Mountaineers have won seven straight in the series and own a 26-21-2 all-time lead … West Virginia came in averaging 55.5 points per game and 612 yards of offense, but Maryland held it to 31 points and 363 yards … the Mountaineers scored 14 points off turnovers (both fumbles), including the game’s opening points.
Strength vs. Strength: Maryland entered Saturday’s game ranked sixth nationally in passing defense (124.3 ypg) and eighth in total defense (227.3 ypg). West Virginia, meanwhile, came in second in passing offense (386 ypg) and third in total offense (612 ypg). The Terps held the Mountaineers well under their total offense average by surrendering 363 yards. A.J. Francis and Demetrius Hartsfield both recorded sacks of WVU QB Geno Smith, the first of this season.
Rush Defense: Maryland’s run defense continued to be a major strength. The Terps came into the game allowing just 2.58 yards per carry and held West Virginia to 1.0 yard per carry. The Mountaineers had averaged 226 rushing yards per game but against the Terps had only 25 yards on 25 carries.
Bringing the Pressure: Despite playing most of the game in a nickel package with just three defensive linemen, Maryland got good pressure in the backfield. The defense recorded two sacks and nine tackles for loss, including two each by Demetrius Hartsfield, Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis.
Ball Control: The Terps were able to control the ball for much of the game, especially in the first half. The Terps won the battle for time of possession 31:14 to 28:46 in the game and 18:13 to 11:47 in the first half. Additionally, Maryland averaged 5.4 yards per play (season average 4.1) and held WVU to 5.3 yards per play (season average 8.3).
Hills Delivers: Freshman quarterback Perry Hills had the best game of his young career, despite playing in a hostile environment. Hills went 20 of 29 for 305 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs. His lone interception came on a fourth-down desperation heave late in the fourth quarter. The last time a Maryland quarterback threw for over 300 yards was Danny O’Brien (348) in the season opener against Miami (9/5/11) last season.
Diggs Shines: Stefon Diggs had his second straight game with 200-plus all-purpose yards by finishing with 201. He had a team-high 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns on three receptions. The touchdowns came on 42 and 56-yard receptions. Diggs also had 25 punt return yards and 63 kickoff return yards.
Tate Returns: Fifth-year senior Kenneth Tate made his season debut after missing the first three games with a knee injury. On his first drive, Tate had a solo tackle and a pass breakup to help force a punt. For the game, Tate finished with four tackles, including one for loss.
Ross Debuts: Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross made his Maryland debut after missing the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. Ross had 20 carries for 52 yards in the game.
Furstenburg, Dorsey Step Up: Seniors Matt Furstenburg and Kevin Dorsey had their best games of the season. Furstenburg had four catches for 65 yards with a long of 29, while Dorsey had three catches for 31 yards with a long of 15.
Tidbits: Maryland was much improved on third downs. After coming in having converted only 14 of 40 (35%), the Terps converted 7 of 14 (50%) … West Virginia’s Tavon Austin became the first played to score three receiving TDs against Maryland since 10/27/01 (Florida State’s Talman Gardner) … Nathan Renfro averaged 45.8 yards per punt on six punts … Dexter McDougle had a career-high eight tackles, all of them unassisted … Demetrius Hartsfield had seven solo stops and Joe Vellano had six.
Maryland head coach Randy Eds.
“I’m disappointed that we made some of the errors that we made that didn’t allow us to have an opportunity to win toward the end of the game. One of the things we have to do is we just have to do a better job of securing the ball offensively and make sure we cut down on the penalties and the sacks.
“Defensively we gave up a couple big plays – one was miscommunication and on special teams we missed a field goal. The guys fought hard, but you know the bottom line is we came up a little bit short and we will just keep getting better and keep working to make ourselves better.”
On quarterback Perry Hills:
“When you get around Perry, and you see his demeanor and his competiveness and his heart and his passion and his ability to be a team guy, you just know a guy like that is going to rebound from some setbacks. That is the thing – he is a tough guy. He is just a tough guy that wants to do well. I thought he went out and for the most part did a good part of executing the game plan. We have to protect him better; we didn’t protect him well enough today. Perry has it in him to come back after that hit that he took. I thought he did a good job, but there are things he needs to do to get better.”
On if he thinks they can establish the running game:
“We hope so. We have to take a look after this week now. Andrew Zeller went in there and played; he made a great block. Stefon’s [Diggs] last touchdown – we are going to take a look at that and evaluate that and see if we can make ourselves better up front. At this level you have to be able to run the football, and we’re going to run the football. I can tell you that that is something that we are going to do and get better at. I do think that we have some backs that can run the ball, but that is something that we are going to do and continue to work on.”
On the fumble that was not challenged:
“I don’t know why anybody challenges anything. We have a system in place in college football that every play is reviewed, so why challenge anything? They are up there reviewing it, so to me, why should a coach even have a challenge? Every play is reviewable, and if it wasn’t a fumble, why should I challenge it? I just don’t see any reason to do it.
“They have a job to do, so if they don’t reverse it or stop the clock to review it, then I’m putting it on the officials because it is their job. That is why we are paying those people money to be up there, so I don’t even know why we have a review for the coaches when every play is reviewed.”