The Mountaineers entered Week 3 against Georgia State with a mystery on offense, and an efficient defense.
The disappointment on offense in the first two weeks is now over. Redshirt freshman quarterback Ford Childress lead West Virginia to an easy 41-7 victory by throwing for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns. The impressive statistics weren't the only thing that caught Coach Holgorsen's attention.
"As a coach, you don't look much at statistics like completion percentage and total yards," said Holgorsen. "I look for poise, in game communication and how he handled the situation. Ford did a good job at managing the game and not getting rattled by the protection issues up front."
The start by Childress on Saturday marked his first action in college football. The numbers are promising, and according to Holgorsen, Ford will only continue to get better.
"He still has a long way to go," said Holgorsen. "Ford has to get better at playing faster, and that will come with reps. I expect his numbers to get better as he gets more comfortable."
The young quarterback will get more snaps this weekend as West Virginia heads into Baltimore to face non- conference rival Maryland. The Mountaineers escaped a potential trap game last season with the Terps, sneaking away with a 31-21 victory at Milan Puskar Stadium. Maryland kept Geno Smith and company off the field for most of the day, but the West Virginia offense still managed to gain 363 yards total, 338 of those yards coming through the air.
The Terrapins enter the game this weekend without their two starting cornerbacks, losing both Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle. Despite these injuries, Holgorsen still expects Maryland to put up a good fight.
"They have good depth, and they are well coached," said Holgorsen. "This is a big game for both teams."
The Mountaineers tallied 25 rushing yards in 25 carries a year ago against the Terps. Heading into Baltimore, West Virginia hopes Charles Sims can change the fortune. Sims has gained 293 yards on 53 attempts in three games. Holgorsen says that Sims will continue to get touches for his effort.
"He works hard in practice," said Holgorsen. "He's been pretty consistent for us, and we'll continue to give him the ball."
The game is Baltimore this weekend is a huge contest for both schools. Maryland and West Virginia have a long history with each other, dating back to the first ever meeting in 1919. In the first 49 games against the Terrapins, the Mountaineers own a 26-21-2 record against their rival. West Virginia has dominated the rivalry as of late, winning seven straight matchups dating back to 2004.
Playing a neutral site game in Baltimore against Maryland is important says Coach Holgorsen.
"This game is a big deal to our administration," said Holgorsen. "I know Athletic Director Oliver Luck has been working hard on getting rivals back on the schedule. As for the team, Maryland is a huge recruiting base for us. Playing the Terrapins also means a lot to our fans."
Rivalry games also require little motivation, and according to Holgorsen his team is ready.
"We didn't have to get them fired up at all," said Holgorsen. "They know what this game means to the fans."
The kickoff for West Virginia vs. Maryland is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. eastern time this Saturday on ESPNU.