By Dave Morrison
COLLEGE PARK, Md. —
The irony of the whole situation seemed lost on West Virginia’s Terance Garvin following the Mountaineers’ 37-31 win Saturday at Maryland.
There, on his lap, as the Mountaineers’ strong safety sat outside the visitor’s media tent, was Terrapins’ quarterback Danny O’Brien, on the game program, staring right at him, poised to throw a pass.
Ironic, because about three hours earlier, there was O’Brien, staring down his receiver, trying to throw him a pass. And this time it was Garvin looking him dead in the eye.
A pick-6, from 37 yards out. It was WVU’s first forced turnover of the year. And it was big, giving WVU a 14-3 lead.
“We checked out of something and they ran a little crossing route,” Garvin said. “They were trying to get the crosses open and I kind of read his eyes, and jumped the route.”
Turnovers were something the Mountaineer coaching staff had stressed coming into the game. WVU was the only FBS school that had not caused or committed a turnover in its first two games. On Saturday they went three each way.
“We knew we didn’t have any,” Garvin said. “The coaching staff stresses it. Coach (Steve) Dunlap is always throwing us balls, and if it hits our hands, he wants us to catch it.”
You can argue the validity of which was more important, Garvin’s or the one by Eain Smith to end the game.
There is no argument for Darwin Cook, who had the other interception.
“I was looking at it like ‘Oh my God, he must be dreaming now,’” Cook said of Garvin’s interception. “I was like, ‘Did he catch it?’ When he did, I ran to the end zone and jumped on him. I’m glad I didn’t break his leg. Terance got the bragging rights because he took it to the house.”
Another irony is Garvin, a 6-foot-3, 216-pound junior, could have been O’Brien’s teammate.
For the Baltimore native, his final two schools in the recruiting process were WVU and Maryland.
So it wasn’t his first trip to Byrd.
“I’ve been here too many times,” Garvin said. “I had 20-some people out today. Cousins, my mom, my dad. I’ve walked on the field before. I was recruited by Maryland, too.”
And that had him more amped up for this visit.
“You do (get more pumped up coming home),” Garvin said. “Coach (David) Lock(wood) had to talk to me. It was like the fifth play of the game. I was too amped up. I was talking to people. I was screaming. He told me to calm down.”
Garvin admitted the WVU defense rested on its first-half laurels, allowing the Terrapins to cut the lead to 34-31 at one point.
“We just weren’t us,” Garvin said. “We weren’t playing downhill; we weren’t playing aggressive, West Virginia football. We felt like we had a big lead and we just weren’t playing like us.”
Garvin finished with nine tackles and also broke up a pass. But he was also flagged for a somewhat questionable personal foul, where he looked like he hit Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg hard, but legally.
“You can’t think about penalties like that,” Garvin said, summoning his inner Ed Reed (he is from Baltimore). “You’ve gotta still come out and play your game, play physical. Play aggressive. Penalties like that are going to happen. It’s a discretionary call. It’s up to the officials to call that.”
It turned out well for Garvin and WVU when Maryland missed a field goal on that drive.
As for the program, Garvin finally looked at it and laughed.
“I’m going to give it to my mom and dad,” he said. “They kind of collect these books. So after every game I try to get one or two. They like them.”
He looked at it again.
The eyes had it.