College Park, Maryland – The West Virginia Mountaineers open the season on the road at College Park, Maryland to take on a Maryland Terrapins team that really struggled last season.
Maryland finished last season 2-3 and the previous season 3-9 for a 5-12 record in two seasons under head coach Mike Locksley.
Last season, The Terrapins struggled on both sides of the ball as they were among the bottom five in the Big Ten in both scoring and points allowed. Although Maryland’s starting quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, has received a lot of preseason hype, he only threw 7 touchdowns with 7 interceptions in five games last season.
West Virginia was 6-4 last season and are 11-11 in two seasons under Neal Brown. The Mountaineers are led by redshirt senior quarterback Jarret Doege, who Brown called “his most improved player” during the offseason, and senior Leddie Brown, who is one of the top returning running backs in college football.
Let’s see how The Voice of Motown’s staff writers believe this game will play out:
Tucker Via, Writer, The Voice of Motown (0-0 on the season)
West Virginia faces their first real test of the season in week 1 when they travel to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins. WVU is no stranger to the Terrapins. The WVU-Maryland strife runs all the way back to 1919 when WVU pitched a 27-0 shut-out in the first ever meeting.
In more recent years, WVU has owned Maryland winning 9 out of the last 10 meetings. The most recent victory for the Mountaineers was in 2015. The Mountaineer offense put up 601 total yards of offense behind QB Skyler Howard’s four touchdowns and sent Maryland fans on a long drive home. This year, the game will be over as soon as the Mountaineers step off the bus.
I expect Jarett Doege, Leddie Brown, and the rest of the WVU offense to be nothing short of dominant. The strides Head Coach Neal Brown has described makes me feel confident in the offense that hardly anyone was confident in last season. We know the defense will be there, despite the key loss of Tykee Smith and Darius Stills. WVU still returns guys like Alonzo Adae, Vandarius Cowan, and Akheem Mesidor.
One thing to keep in mind, Maryland will likely start Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of the infamous Alabama QB Tua Tagovailo who wasn’t very impressive last season, throwing for just 1,011 yards with a 7/7 TD-INT.
WVU 37 Maryland 16
Brad Smith, Senior Writer/Owner, The Voice of Motown (0-0 on the season)
Winning on the road in a season opener is really tough even if the visiting team is superior. Although West Virginia should win this game, Maryland will have a big crowd and a lot to play for in their home opener.
Although Jarret Doege has been praised by his coaching staff all offseason for the improvements he’s made, he’s still Jarret Doege. The same Jarret Doege who had to be benched in the second half of the Liberty Bowl in favor of Austin Kendall because he wasn’t getting the job done.
West Virginia would have likely lost to Army if Doege remained in the game. Doege is experienced and perhaps he’s made incredible growth since then, but I can’t help but to think back to last season when he looked extremely shaky and immobile in the pocket, particularly when he was pressured by opposing defenses.
Doege also struggled to throw the ball deep downfield and this group of West Virginia wide receivers have had difficulties catching passes even when Doege has delivered it on the money to them.
Leddie Brown should be able to get plenty of yards behind an improved offensive line, but Maryland would be wise to make Doege beat them throwing the ball down the field, and I believe that’s exactly what they will do.
Unfortunately, and I hope that I’m wrong, but West Virginia can’t rely on Jarret Doege to beat teams with his arm until proven otherwise.
It’s going to be a good one but the good guys leave College Park with a close loss in a defensive battle.
Maryland 17 WVU 10