When they University of Maryland football team takes on West Virginia Sept. 13 it will be the tale of two quarterbacks.
While quarterback C.J. Brown and the Maryland offense have been inconsistent at best, West Virginia's Clint Trickett has been spot on. The relentless nature of head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense makes this a tall mountain for Maryland to climb.
Trickett has been sharp during his two starts -- completing more than 75 percent of his passes for 713 yards and three touchdowns. West Virginia had a second-half lead during its opener against No. 2 Alabama Aug. 30, before fading down the stretch, 33-23. The Mountaineers then steamrolled Towson, 54-0, finishing with 606 total yards as seven different Mountaineers scored touchdowns. Trickett's 24 first-half completions were the most for a Mountaineer quarterback since Geno Smith in 2012
"Trickett's right on time," said Terps defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. "He's doing a good job, and has the offense operating at a high rate, fast speed. He's able to signal and get the plays in. He's playing well."
Meanwhile, the Terps committed six turnovers against University of South Florida Sept. 6, and had it not been for a late blocked punt returned for a touchdown, the Terps might have left Tampa 1-1, rather than 2-0. Except for wide receiver Marcus Leak's 44-yard catch and run touchdown, the Terps offense was devoid of big plays.
"I don't think [Brown] had struggles, he's 2-0," said offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. "I think he can play better. I think I can coach better. I think everyone on offense can play better, so a lot is made with quarterbacks. To me, quarterbacks are judged with their wins and losses, and right now he's a 2-0 quarterback."
After losing 37-0 to Maryland during the 2013-14 season, the Mountaineers come in with a chip on their shoulders during a game that means a lot in the recruiting battle between the two schools. Look for Holgorsen to put the pedal to the metal and put a lot of pressure on Maryland's defense with a fast-paced offensive attack. Eleven different players have caught passes for West Virginia. Senior wide receiver Kevin White leads the way with 19 catches. White also has two straight games of 100 yards receiving.
The Maryland defense has played with poise and athleticism during the first two weeks, but it will face too many weapons against West Virginia.
PREDICTION: West Virginia 27, Maryland 20