Maryland humbles sloppy WVU
BALTIMORE — No one saw this coming. Not Maryland, and certainly not West Virginia.
A.J. Hendy scored on a 28-yard interception return and recovered two fumbles as the unbeaten Terrapins forced six turnovers in a surprisingly easy 37-0 victory over the Mountaineers on Saturday.
The Terps (4-0) figured this game would serve as an indication of how much they have improved since going 4-8 last year. After beating Florida International, Old Dominion and Connecticut earlier this season, Maryland expected to be tested by a West Virginia team that had won seven straight in this border rivalry.
The game was over by halftime. Off to their best start since 2001, the Terrapins led 30-0 at intermission after limiting the Mountaineers (2-2) to two first downs and picking off two passes.
“West Virginia, they're always a tough team,” linebacker L.A. Goree said. “To be up 37-0 on a team like that, it's great.”
Coach Randy Edsall, who was 1-8 lifetime against the Mountaineers, said, “It's always good to beat West Virginia, especially after seven years of not beating them. It's also good to be able to shut out a team with the offense that they have.”
C.J. Brown, a Seneca Valley product, rushed for a touchdown and passed for a score to help Maryland to its most lopsided win in the series since a 54-7 blowout in 1951.
Maryland gets a bye next weekend before opening their final ACC season at Florida State.
“Here we are a third through our season and we're 4-0. We can't be better than that,” Edsall said. “But there's still plenty of room for improvement, and we can get a whole lot better.”
Brown and the offense played well, but the defense did most of the damage. Not only did Hendy score, but Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil also picked off a pass near the WVU goal line to set up another touchdown. The Terrapins also recovered four fumbles.
“The defense did a super job,” Edsall said.
West Virginia finished with 175 yards in offense in its first shutout loss since a 35-0 defeat against Virginia Tech on Oct. 6, 2001.
“Obviously, offensively, we're as inept as we can possibly be in college football,” coach Dana Holgorsen said.
The Mountaineers appear to be in full-blown rebuilding mode after losing Geno Smith and Tavon Austin to the NFL. Redshirt freshman Ford Childress was 11 for 22 for 62 yards and two interceptions against the ball-hawking Terrapins.
“Everybody wants to point the finger at the quarterback, but it's tough,” Holgorsen said. “We've committed a lot of practice time, a lot of effort, a lot of scheme into being able to run the football. And when they have five people in the box and we can't get a yard, it's going to cause a problem.”
West Virginia ran for 113 yards, but 51 of those came on a meaningless jaunt by Dreamius Smith in the fourth quarter.