WVU vs. Maryland Game Recap - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU vs. Maryland Game Recap

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No. 18 West Virginia started fast and held off a late push by Maryland on its way to a 37-31 victory Saturday afternoon. The border-rivalry was played at Byrd Stadium for the first time since 2007. The win was the Mountaineers' sixth straight against the Terrapins.

"The biggest thing we tried to get accomplished this week was just hit the field with excitement and start the game fast," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. "I felt like we had a really good week of practice, and we started well."

After a Maryland punt on its first possession of the game, West Virginia's first drive showed some promise. The Mountaineers tallied multiple first downs and found themselves deep into Terrapins' territory, before running back Andrew Buie fumbled. The turnover was West Virginia's first of the season.

Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien led his offense down the field. The West Virginia defense tallied 30 yards of penalties on the drive that ended with a Maryland field goal. This marked the third consecutive game where West Virginia's opponent scored first.

Slow starts had been a habit for the Mountaineers in their first two games of the season. But, Geno Smith led a 10 play 88-yard drive following the Maryland field goal to give West Virginia a 7-3 lead. Running Back Vernard Roberts capped the drive off with a 9-yard touchdown run, his third of the season.

On the ensuing Maryland possession, the West Virginia defense forced its first turnover of the season. Junior safety Terence Garvin intercepted a Danny O'Brien pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to give the Mountaineers a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

"I was in my spot," Garvin said. "I saw the crossing route and I read the quarterback's eyes."

Garvin, a Baltimore native, seemed to shift momentum to the side of the visitors. Placekicker Tyler Bitancurt made a 35-yard field goal. Then, another long sustained drive resulted in a 10-yard touchdown run by running back Andrew Buie. The touchdown was Buie's first of his collegiate career.

Later in the second quarter, Danny O'Brien found receiver Kevin Dorsey for an 18-yard touchdown pass with two minutes remaining until halftime. The touchdown was the first surrendered by the West Virginia defense all season.  

Tyler Bitancurt chipped in a 34-yard field goal just before the half to give West Virginia 27-10 halftime lead.

Geno Smith hit a streaking Stedman Bailey for a 34-yard touchdown pass just over three minutes into the third quarter. The touchdown was Smith's first of the game and extended the Mountaineer lead to 34-10.

The tempo of the Mountaineers' offense was apparently faster compared to the first two games of the season.

"The tempo for us was fantastic," Holgorsen said. "When we get things going, it's easier to play with tempo."

West Virginia's offensive efficiency allowed the Mountaineers to not record their first punt until midway through the third quarter.

However, the offense seemed to stall in the second half.

Maryland continued to fight and grasped all the momentum late in the third quarter. The Terrapins scored 21 unanswered points and cut the lead to 34-31 with 10:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen and the West Virginia offense responded. A 13 play 66-yard drive led to another Tyler Bitancurt field goal, extending the Mountaineers' lead to 37-31.

Maryland got the ball one last time, but was unable to capitalize. Senior safety Eain Smith intercepted a Danny O'Brien pass with just over one minute remaining, securing a Mountaineers' victory.

The sudden momentum shifts are something coach Holgorsen has seen before.

"It's football, it happens," he said. "Maryland is a good program and they're well coached. We knew it was going to be a tough game. I felt like we were ready and I was happy to see us finish the game."

"When you're playing a good team, that's stuff is going to happen," Holgorsen said. "You've got to be able to overcome that. If we didn't have good leadership, we could have caved at the end."

The West Virginia rushing attack continued to show improvement this week. Junior running back Shawne Alston saw his first action of the season after sitting out the first two games due to injury. Alston didn't carry the ball often, but looked to solidify himself as the short-yardage back.

Geno Smith had his most impressive outing of the season. He illustrated the ability to make difficult throws and showed poise in the pocket. Smith finished the game 36-49 for 388 yards and one touchdown.

West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin continued to separate himself as the Mountaineers' most consistent player at that position. Austin caught 11 passes for 122 yards.

Even with the lackluster second half by his team, Dana Holgorsen was extremely happy to head back home with a victory.

"It's hard to win, and it's really hard to win on the road," he said.

West Virginia improved to 3-0 on the season.

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