It's a big day in Morgantown as the Mountaineers face their first BCS Conference team of the 2010 season, the Maryland Terrapins. This game is an old-school border war that resonates deeply with both fanbases. I'll be in the house with Scott Harris from Shell Games (trying to protect him from a hail of whiskey bottles, I'm sure...) and I'll try and update this storystream the best I can from the stadium. In the meantime, some thoughts to chew on as you watch the game....
-Geno Smith! The man made a giant leap as a quarterback last Friday at Marshall. That said, the team as a whole played a sloppy game. Which will show up today?
-Maryland's dueling QB's. Jamarr Robinson is today's starter, and has seen the bulk of the snaps this season. That said, Ralph Friedgen will be looking for an opportunity to get Danny O'Brien some reps. The old adage about 'having two quarterbacks really means you have none' should be in play here today.
-Brandon Hogan. The cornerback has been suspended from the team following a DUI arrest in Morgantown last weekend. In his place will be inexperienced back-ups Brantwon Bowser and so and so and so and so. Hogan has showed flashes this season of finally being a big time player in the defensive backfield. His talents will surely be missed.
-Injuries are already piling up for the Mountaineers. Middle linebackers Pat Lazear and Branko Busick and tight end Tyler Urban won't play. Urban is another blow to an already-struggling O-line. Defensive end Will Clarke is doubtful and and WR Brad Starks is probable.
-The offensive line has issues. Big ones. Marshall's front seven spent plenty of time in the backfield giving Geno fits, and stuffing Devine and Sanders before they had a chance to get into open space. How goes the O-line goes the entire offense this afternoon. Maryland's defensive front is stout, and probably much better than Marshall's. This could be a good indicator of how the rest of the season will shape up, up front.
-Maryland has to deal with a rowdy road crowd. Go read this Washington Post piece - it's pretty great, and I love the term "kegs and eggs." That said, I hate to ruin the fun. Noon games can feature a hung over and lackadaisical student section, so who knows how unruly things can really get. Now, a 3:30 or 7:30 kickoff ... that's a whole different story!
Alright! I'm off to the stadium, I'll check back in the best I can ...