Well, it was an interesting game for the Mountaineers. Completely dominant in the first half, WVU nearly coughed it up in the second. However, the boys held on and now get ready for LSU with "ESPN Gameday" coming to town. The offense continues to improve, but the redzone is still an issue. The defense showed some youth, but still made the big play when needed.
Most Valuable Player: Geno Smith. Hard to argue against Geno. The junior broke a school record with 388 passing yards, with a touchdown and an interception(which wasn't his fault). More importantly, Geno continues to grow as a leader and a passer. He threaded the needle on numerous occasions, and led the Mountaineers on a very important scoing drive late in the fourth. Smith will get plenty of national attention this week heading into the LSU game.
Least Valuable Player: Rush Defense. Man, it was ugly. Maryland gained 188 yards, while averaging over five yards per rush. The D-Line was constantly blow up, linebackers were out of position, and way too many tackles by the secondary. Credit Maryland for shaking up the play calling, and the Terps do have some skilled backs. However, the Mountaineers were blown off the ball way too much.
Most Surprising: Shawne Alston Getting Reps. Considering he was only cleared to play on Wednesday, it was interesting to see the big back getting valuable carries in this game. Sure, he was stopped on a few occasions, but Alston did pick up some crucial first downs. Dana Holgorsen may see that using the big back is critical, considering his young midget backs are struggling on short yardage. It also does't help that the blocking is still a concern. By adding Alston, it gives the Mountaineers a hybrid of size and speed.
Least Surprising: Maryland's Comeback. Who didn't see that coming? The Mountaineers got complacent, Maryland made some very good adjustments, and the game came down to the final five minutes. Just your average WVU/Maryland game. All that matters is that WVU held on.
Play of the Game: Eain Smith's Interception. Maryland was driving late in the fourth quarter, with a chance to win the game. The Terps were in Mountaineer territory, and the defense desperately needed to make a play. Enter Smith, who read Danny O'Brien perfectly, stepped into a throw, and picked the ball off on the six.
Quarterback: Geno was solid again. He just continues to be a steady QB. He does need to work on his redone passing, but very good overall.
Running Back: Continue to improve, and now have some experience with Shawne Alston back from injury. Andrew Buie did put the ball on the field, but came back strong. Two touchdowns on the ground as well.
Wide Receiver: Three had over 100 yards receiving, and a whole ton of yards after the catch. Ivan McCartney was responsible for Geno's interception, but overall a good game for the unit.
Offensive Line: Still not great, but it was the best game so far. Geno had good time in the pocket, and the ground game found some success. Still need much improvement, but it's getting better.
Defensive Line: Blown off the ball way too much. And, still not enough pressure on the quarterback.
Linebacker: Completely lost at times, and struggled mightily against the run. Did make some big plays late, but overall, nowhere to be found.
Secondary: Had to make a lot of plays due to the front six playing so poorly. Pretty good in coverage, and strong tackling technique.
Special Teams: Kicking game was strong, coverage was average. Tavon Austin struggled to hold on to the football at times as well.
Coaching: Dana's play-calling was good, and seemed to open up the book a little more. Continues to be aggressive on 4th down, which hasn't paid off yet. Jeff Casteel will certainly be in the film room quite a bit to try to figure out how to stop the run.