By Megan Smedley
Maryland made the short trip to West Virginia in the “Battle of the Border” on Saturday afternoon. The highly anticipated game was the second-most expensive game in college football this weekend. Unfortunately, the highlight of the game was the surprise appearance by Brad Paisley to perform “Country Roads.” Nothing seemed to go right for Maryland as they lost 45-6.
Caleb Rowe struggled in his first possession throwing four incomplete passes and turning the ball over on downs. West Virginia quickly took advantage and started marching down the field. After a run by QB Skyler Howard, A.J. Hendy body slammed Howard out of bounds. Hendy was almost called for targeting a defenseless player but the refs decided on unnecessary roughness, angering WVU fans. With the penalty, WVU was in scoring position and Howard threw a touchdown to Elijah Wellman putting the Mountaineers up 7-0. It would only get worse from there. In their next possession, Howard found Shelton Gibson wide-open for 32 yards resulting in an easy touchdown for Wendell Smallwood. Once again, Caleb Rowe could not complete a pass and West Virginia was given the perfect opportunity. Maryland’s secondary fell apart by allowing Gibson to break numerous tackles to run in for the touchdown. At the end of the 1st Quarter, the Terps were down 21-0. Caleb Rowe had only completed one pass out of ten attempts and the Terps lost 50 yards in penalties.
The Terps caught a bit of a break in the early in the second quarter when WVU missed a field goal. Rowe managed to complete a pass in his first drive of the quarter, but still nothing for Maryland. West Virginia marched down the field and scored yet again with Howard to Gibson 41-yard touchdown. Gibson clotheslined a Maryland cheerleader as he went into the end zone. In their next possession, Caleb Rowe threw his first interception of the day, setting up West Virginia for another scoring run. West Virginia quickly scored with a Rushel Shell run, putting them up 35-0. Brandon Ross found a hole and broke through with a 55-yard run into the end zone only to fumble and for it to be ruled a touchback.
“I didn’t even see him to be honest with you,” Ross said. “I thought I was going to score and he got me on my legs. I wasn’t really securing the ball, and when he tackled me it came out.”
When things started to look good for the Terps following an Anthony Nixon interception, Caleb Rowe threw his second interception of the day. West Virginia finished out the half with a 48-yard field goal to put them up 38-0. At the half, Maryland had allowed 427 yards.
The Terps looked to have turned things around in the first play of the second half. Will Likely forced a fumble on the kickoff, setting the Terps up in the red zone. But Caleb Rowe threw yet another interception, this time in the end zone. West Virginia had no problem marching down the field only to miss their second field goal of the day. With that, the Terps looked to finally get on the board. Rowe completed a couple of passes to Avery Edwards and Taivon Jacobs. But in a déjà vu moment, Rowe threw his second interception in the end zone of the day.
“He’s gotta get out of that mentality of thinking that people are open when they’re not and forcing things,” Coach Randy Edsall said.
Daxx Garman began warming up on the sidelines to begin his career at Maryland. At this point, West Virginia was just rubbing it in. On 4th and 5, they completely tricked Maryland with a fake punt turning into a 13-yard gain. Daxx Garman took the field for his first series as a Terp. Unfortunately, it was a quick three and out for him. To the fourth quarter it went with the Terps down 38-0.
West Virginia kicked off the fourth quarter with yet another touchdown. Maryland was able to get on the board halfway through the fourth quarter. Daxx Garman collected his first touchdown with a 46-yard pass to Jahrvis Davenport. That would be it for the Terps as they fall to rival West Virginia by a score of 45-6. Avery Edwards said they had practiced really well with crowd noise this week to prepare for atmosphere of Morgantown. Maryland’s defense struggled allowing 601 yards and once again penalties proved to be a main problem. The Terps lost 100 yards on 10 penalties. Coach Randy Edsall was visibly annoyed with the outcome.
“We have to do a better job of reading things, executing, and giving ourselves a better opportunity to make things happen,” Edsall said. “The thing that disappointed me more than anything today is we played undisciplined at times with some of the penalties.”
Maryland looks to rebound next Saturday as they open up Big 10 play against Michigan. The game will be broadcast on BTN starting at 8 p.m.