West Virginia and Maryland will meet on September 4th at 3:30 p.m. to kick off the 2021 season. West Virginia currently sits as a 2.5 favorite at BetMGM and a three-point favorite at William Hill. Other sportsbooks have the over/under set at 57.5.
The Mountaineers are entering the 3rd year under head coach Neal Brown who has an 11-11 record and a 1-0 bowl record after two seasons. Meanwhile, the Terrapins are entering year four of the Mike Locksley era. Locksley is 6-17 as the Maryland head coach and holds an 8-43 career record.
Even with the Terps’ struggles under Locksley, many in the college football landscape believe the 2021 season could be the year where he gets things turned around. On the offensive side of the ball, Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Dolphins QB and former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa, will be the starting quarterback. Former consensus five-star recruit, Rakim Jarrett, will be Tagovailoa's go-to target in the passing game.
Tagovailoa will be facing a daunting task right out of the shoot with West Virginia's stingy defense. Last year, first-year defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley led the Mountaineers to having the No. 1 defense among all Power Five teams allowing just 291.4 yards per game and also had the No. 1 pass defense in the nation allowing 159.6 yards/game.
West Virginia returns six starters from last year's defense and that doesn't include Akheem Mesidor who led the team with five sacks as a true freshman, defensive end Taijh Alston who missed all but one game a year ago, and Scottie Young who started at Arizona and was forced to sit out last season due to transfer rules.
On the flip side, West Virginia returns a ton of starters on offense as well including quarterback Jarret Doege and running back Leddie Brown (1,010 rushing yards in 2020). Doege has played at average-at-best but the WVU coaching staff has been pleased with the work he put in this offseason and believes he has taken his game up a level or two.
West Virginia leads the all-time series, 28-22-2 and has won the past two meetings over Maryland and nine of the last ten.
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