By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Undefeated Maryland (3-0) has been installed by oddsmakers as a 5 1/2 -- point favorite to defeat old rival West Virginia (2-0, 0-1 Big 12) in Saturday’s football game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
While the Mountaineers currently have a seven-game winning streak in this series, coach Randy Edsall has been rebuilding the Maryland program since taking over the reins in 2010.
He had been the head mentor for several years at Connecticut. The Terrapins posted their third straight win 32-21 last Saturday.
Edsall, who’s 0-2 against WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen, is expected to have his charges fired up and well prepared to knock off the younger, less-experienced Mountaineers.
Win or lose, West Virginia should find this game more telling as to the potential of this year’s team to coaches, players and fans than they got from any of the three previous games.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun on Saturday to be able to go up to M&T Bank Stadium and play in Baltimore.” coach Edsall said earlier in the week. “Our guys are excited about it to go up and play in a great venue in the biggest city in the state.
“We haven’t beaten West Virginia in seven (straight games). They’re a very good football team that’s playing well at this point and time.
“So we’re going to have to make sure that we go out and have a good week of practice and prepare the right way and execute, and be more productive offensively and minimize big plays defensively in order to give ourselves an opportunity to win Saturday afternoon.”
Like Edsall, Holgorsen believes his Mountaineers are extremely excited to be playing Maryland this weekend. “It’s something our boys are looking forward to,” he said. “Our guys are familiar with Maryland, but they are different team than they were the last couple years. You can see it’s a different unit offensively with (senior quarterback) C.J. Brown. He’s had a good year so far and he brings balance to their offense.”
Ford Childress, the promising redshirt freshman from Houston, Tex., will be making his second start at quarterback for West Virginia. He completed 25 of 41 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia State last Saturday.
“I got the speed of the college game down well” he said this week. “I think it was a great help going into Maryland. The rhythm with the receivers has improved.”
Senior Charles Sims, a transfer running back from Houston, Tex., remains the leading Mountaineer rusher with 293 yards on 52 carries. He has scored only two touchdowns so far.
Linebacker Nick Kwiat-kowski leads the defense in tackles with 27, and safety Darwin Cook has 20.
West Virginia leads the all time Maryland series by a 26-21-2 margin. Until recently, however, this has been one of the most competitive Eastern rivalries.