Breaking it down: Terps face tall task in Morgantown
Who: Maryland vs. West Virginia
When: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium, West Virginia
TV: Fox Sports 1
Spread: West Virginia -17
Matchup to watch: Shelton Gibson vs. William Likely
The sophomore is averaging a ridiculous 35 yards per catch this season. The speedster will likely be matched up against William Likely, who had a major bounce-back game against USF last week. Sean Davis, who had two interceptions a week ago, could also draw looks against the WVU deep threat. The former Ohio State target already has three catches of 47 yards or more. Last year, the Maryland defensive backs allowed future first-rounder Kevin White to rack up 216 yards. That can’t happen this time around with Gibson.
Thing I’m excited for: The Jacobs brothers in the open field
Speaking of big-play receivers, the Terps have a couple of their own in Levern and Taivon Jacobs. We saw Taivon flash his speed last week on a perfect throw from Caleb Rowe that resulted in a 70-yard score. And Levern has been the Terps’ most consistent receiving threat. We hadn’t really seen either of them break out until last week, so there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to continue that against a West Virginia defense that’s allowed 154.5 passing yards per contest. Look for Edsall to hit on some drag routes or wide receiver screens to get them some space to work with.
Number to remember: 8
That’s how many times the Terps have turned the ball over this season, which is the second most of any B1G team. The struggles at quarterback have been well documented. Caleb Rowe looked better last week. Still, he’s thrown five interceptions in his last five quarters of football. You can’t expect to go into Morgantown and pull out a victory if you’re going to turn the ball over at that high a rate. The Terps have ball-hawking corners that can do the same, but you can’t rely on those turnovers to occur against better teams like West Virginia. A lack of ball security would prevent the Terps from even having a chance in this one.
Prediction: West Virginia 35, Maryland 21
This will be another game in which the Terps struggle to defend the zone read. The Mountaineers have similar characteristics to their offense as the Bowling Green unit that dropped 48 on the Terps two weeks ago. Skyler Howard is able to stretch the field and keep Maryland off-balanced enough to hit a few big plays. The Terps can’t slow down their non-conference rival and come up short in Morgantown.