WVU-Maryland: Football rivalry that spans many years
MORGANTOWN -When you first see Shaq Rowell, you probably wouldn’t expect the 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive lineman to be a history buff.
Truth is, the redshirt senior knows his stuff.
”I know my history about a lot of stuff, man,” he said. ”You’ve got to be reading up on your opponents. I hope they’re reading up on us.”
He certainly has done his homework when it comes to the Maryland Terps.
”It’s just like Pitt. It’s a great rivalry,” Rowell pointed out. ”A lot of the other guys don’t know about this rivalry. We’ve played Maryland 49 times since 1919 and we’ve beat them the last seven games. I know Maryland is going to be very excited to come in and beat us, and we’re looking forward to competing against those guys.”
He’s not the only one.
”This rivalry goes back years and years,” receiver Ivan McCartney said. ”We expect them to come in with a chip on their shoulder being as we’ve won the past seven games. This will be a very big, important game.”
Added fellow receiver K.J. Myers: ”It’s going to be fun, of course. We’ve got a history with them. We have a lot of players from Maryland and in that area, so a lot of their family and friends will be there.”
Freshman Dakiel Shorts was actually recruited by Maryland coach Randy Edsall to play safety for the Terps.
”I’m very excited to play Maryland, but it’s nothing personal,” the receiver said. ”They recruited me at safety, but I didn’t want to play defense.”
Top of the Board
In the media room of the Milan Puskar Center, there’s a dry erase board with every Mountaineer defender’s name on it.
The names are listed from top to bottom based on a point system made up of tackles, assists, sacks, etc.
At the top of the board sits linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski’s name.
”It’s been a guideline to who is producing and who is not,” Kwiatkoski said of the board. ”It is based on stats, but it lets you know your missed assignments and missed tackles as well. It is a way to keep track and see who is producing.
”Being on top of that board is definitely something I pride myself on and I will try to keep it that way.”
Kwiatkoski has led or tied for team-high tackle honors in each of the first three games this season. He finished with nine tackles, including eight solo stops, a 10-yard sack and a forced fumble last week against Georgia State.
Keep the Faith
One thing about freshman quarterbacks is they can be rattled easily.
There’s no doubt linebacker Marus Whitfield and the rest of the Terps defense will have that in mind when Ford Childress takes the field in the second start of his career.
Childress, though, says he has faith in the guys up front.
”I like my O-line,” the redshirt freshman said. ”I think we will do well. We worked a lot on their blitzes. We will get it down and will be able to get it down. They do some stuff that we haven’t seen this season yet, but we know what it is. We’ve watched a lot of tape on them so they’ll be able to pick it up.”
For Childress’ sake, they better.
Maryland leads the nation with 15 sacks, an average of five per game.
A Pro’s Home
When the Mountaineers travel to Baltimore to play in M&T Bank Stadium, it’ll be the first time many of them will ever get to play in an NFL venue.
”It is certainly different playing in an NFL Stadium,” Rowell said. ”The hashmarks are in the middle of the field versus the sideline, but at the end of the day it is no different. The Redskins stadium is like our stadium and the Baltimore stadium. You enjoy it, because it is an NFL stadium but the game is no different.”
For McCartney, it’s a chance to fulfill a childhood dream.
”This is one of my favorite teams (Baltimore Ravens) and one of my favorite players (Ray Lewis) used to play in that stadium,” McCartney said. ”It’s an honor to play in this stadium”
Added cornerback Ishmael Banks: ”It’s fun. You feel like you’re in the big time out there.”