By Phil Coale, AP

The Day Maryland Took Back The Rivalry...


“Crabcakes and football, that’s what Maryland does.”

Not only is it a perfect one-liner from a hilarious movie, but it appears that, for the first time in a while, it’ll be a state of mind in the ‘Old Line’ state.

Let me first tell you this before I get into my story, here; I am a native Marylander. Born and raised. I’ve been spoon-fed all things Terrapins since 1984. That being said, I am a Mountaineer, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Blue and Gold runs in my veins, John Denver’s Country Roads plays on a continuous loop inside my head.

Yeah sure, it wasn’t easy switching affiliations wasn’t easy at first, but when I took my talents to Morgantown, West Virginia for college, I naturally began backing the Blue & Gold rather than the Red, Black and Yellow.

And I must say, the ability to hold bragging rights over all of your high school buddies makes that transition a little easier/sweeter.

I have seen the my beloved Mountaineers absolutely OWN the Terrapins in this annual rivalry. For the better part of a decade (seven straight meeting to be exact), there is nothing I more enjoyed than watching my Mountaineers run roughshod over, around and through the hapless Turtles from College Park (much to the dismay of my salty friends and family back home).

Well, all good things must come to an end, right. The total dominance has been great and all, but I don’t expect to see the trend continue tomorrow afternoon in Baltimore. As much as it pains me to say it, its Maryland’s turn to own this rivalry for a while *insert internet sigh and rolls eyes*.

After a few years to get its footing, it appears that the Randy Edsall-led Maryland squad finally is on its way back to national relevance.

After seasons of seeing WVU trot out the likes ofPat White, Steve Slaton, Noel Devine, Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey out to beat up on UMD, for once tomorrow Maryland will feature the best talents on the field.

The Tavon Austin incarnate Stefon Diggs has breathed new life in a previously lifeless Maryland offense. The blue-chipper has lived up to his billing and then some, flexing his muscle and making spectacular and game-changing plays look routine. Every week, defenses are perplexed by the ways that the sophomore from Gaithersburg, MD can beat them. He touches the ball as a return ace, a running back and as a wide receiver (by the way, he is averaging over 24 yards per catch). Word is he even volunteered to play some defensive back last week versus UConn after a few corner backs went down. He can do it all…and he usually does. He is versatile, dynamic and can score anywhere and anytime.

Someone has to get him the ball, however. And after a season in which the Terps used a freaking LINEBACKER under center due to the comical number of injuries, it appears they finally have their guy.

An injury-plagued 2012, Maryland quarterback CJ Brown has become the dual-threat field general fans hoped to see last season. The senior has accounted for 11 touchdowns (six passing, five rushing) through three games, all wins. He has also shown the pose and leadership that must be demonstrated from a senior quarterback despite minimal playing time and experience.

On the flipside, West Virginia is regressing from it’s usually lofty status. WVU is 2-1, but has struggled to overcome two FBS opponents in both its victories. Youth and inexperience at quarterback has bee the bugaboo for the Mountaineers, who can’t seem to find any consistency from anyone. Paul Millard took the snaps versus William & Mary and Oklahoma, sending in very uneven performances, before giving way to Ford Childress last week versus Georgia State. The usually-explosive West Virginia offense has been very, well, average in the season’s first month, and head coach Dana Holgerson often looks confused and outmatched on the sidelines.

Hey don’t get me wrong. I would love it if WVU pushed it’s win streak to eight straight tomorrow over the Terps. Winning this game in M&T Bank stadium surrounded by my fellow WVU faithful would make scarfing on a jumbo-lump crabcake (that I have been dreaming about eating for several days now) taste so much more delectable. But I won’t be surprised if I am choking down a large slice of humble pie, instead.

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Tags: Maryland Terrapins West Virginia Mountaineers

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