The fifth-ranked University of West Virginia Mountaineers needed to make a statement Thursday night as they held the national stage with an ESPN national telecast and didn’t waste the opportunity as the Mounties romped and stomped past the visiting Maryland Terrapins 45-24 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown. With the win, West Virginia extends it record to 3-0 while Maryland drops to 2-1. The Mountaineers have defeated Maryland for the third straight year.
Mountaineer QB Pat White was only 6-of-9 through the air for a total of 43 yards but who needs a passing game when you have Steve Slaton in your backfield. Running back and Heisman Trophy Candidate Slaton sliced and diced through the Maryland line for 195 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. White also ran for 85 yards and a touchdown and threw for another. With scouts from the Orange and Fiesta bowls, and scouts from 15 NFL teams in attendance, the Mountaineers jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and went into the half-time break leading 38-10. WVU only tallied one score in the second half but held Maryland off for the win.
The Terrapins were their own worst enemy as they fumbled away two returns on Kick-offs following West Virginia Touchdowns. “Everything that could go wrong did,” said Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen. “It was not the greatest way to start the game.”
The Mountaineers were heavily favored giving backers a –17 1/2 point chalk in the Line. As the first quarter ended WVU led 28-0 and was headed to an apparent lopsided win and cover. The Terps had something to say about that as they used the final three periods to peck away at the huge WVU lead by scoring 24 points and only giving up 16 to the Mountaineers. The Terrapins fell a touchdown short of getting a backdoor allowing WVU to come away with a 21-point win. The 50 point Total did not hold up long going down early in the third quarter and was almost achieved by the end of the first half with 48 points on the board at the break.
The Mountaineers are definitely contenders for the BCS National Championship game and have all weekend to access the competition with several blockbuster games scheduled including Notre Dame hosting Michigan and Auburn welcoming LSU.
The next game for West Virginia is September 23 when they visit East Carolina in Greenville where they’ve lost two of the past three to the Pirates. They barely survived ECU at Mountaineer Field last fall.