The offense has been prolific, the record is 3-0 for the first time in a dozen years and the upcoming opponent is traditionally strong border rival. For Maryland football, there's a sudden dose of buzz heading into this weekend's showdown with West Virginia in Baltimore.
Preview: Maryland-West Virginia (Terps Coa...
But good luck coaxing Terps coach Randy Edsall or his players into the hype-building.
“You know … I view every team as the best were going to play that week. I just look at this as a chance to go 4-0”, Edsall said, refusing to add to the build-up.
He knows, of course, that opportunity lies before his team; Maryland is favored to beat WVU for the first time in seven years and add a bit of credence to a strong start against unheralded opponents. The Mountaineers are unranked but significantly better, as a team and a program, than any of Maryland's first three opponents.
Beating the Mountaineers in Baltimore, where WVU has thrived in recruiting, would be valuable on a few levels.
"I’m from Baltimore so playing in front of my family and in M&T Bank is gonna be really big for me, I’m really excited,” linebacker Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil said.
The Terps enter the game hobbled in the defensive backfield. Starters Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle are out -- McDougle for the rest of the season -- but Edsall's confident that true freshman Will Likely and senior Isaac Goins will pick up the slack after moving into starting spots, while sophomore Alvin Hill and true freshman Jarrett Ross move into more prominent roles.
“I have confidence in all our guys. Will and Isaac have already proved that they’re capable of making big plays, and Alvin and Jarrett know what the expectations are," Edsall said.
West Virginia, 2-1 after pounding Georgia State last weekend, doesn't have the catchet of its recent teams. Stars like Geno Smith and Tavon Austin -- an example of the Mountaineers' recruiting success in Baltimore -- are gone. But the their pass-heavy offense will present a challenge for Maryland's thin secondary.
And they've had the Terps' number in recent years, though Edsall wasn't getting into any of that. When asked what he knows about the Maryland-West Virginia rivalry, he paused momentarily before offering a coy one-liner.
"Uh," he said, "that it's a bordering state of Maryland."
Click HERE to read all of Randy Edsall's comments at Maryland's media session.
Branden Roth contributed to this report.
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