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Maryland Terrapins vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Free Pick 9/21/13

West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1) at Maryland Terrapins (3-0)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm (Byrd Stadium)

The Line: Maryland Terrapins -4.5 -- Over/Under: 47 See the Latest Odds


Storyline: In an effort to resuscitate a withering West Virginia passing game, Dana Holgorson decided to go with a redshirt freshman at QB Saturday against Georgia State. And the move paid dividends, as Ford Childress, who just one week ago was listed third on the depth chart, passed for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 41-7 West Virginia rout. Maryland, meanwhile, is riding a three-game win streak behind the brilliant play of Sr. QB C.J. Brown, who passed for 277 yards and a score and added another 122 yards and a touchdown on the ground in a 32-21 win over UConn Saturday.

The Breakdown: In their first two games against William & Mary and particularly Oklahoma, the Mountaineers struggled through the air, producing 455 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Not that alarming statistically until you compare those numbers to the WVU of last year with Geno Smith, who routinely eclipsed those numbers in three quarters. At 6-5, 234, Childress, the son of Hall of Fame NFL defensive lineman Ray Childress, looks every bit the part and jumped all over his debut opportunity, connecting on 25-of-41 for 359 yards and scoring strikes of 21, 45 and 23 yards, numbers more resembling a West Virginia QB. Childress got the start late last week over Jr. Paul Millard, who started the first two games and went 44-of-66 for 455 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT on 60.6% passing, and backup Jr. Clint Trickett, a Florida State transfer. The Mountaineers posted 604 total yards against Georgia State and were equally impressive on the ground, getting 118 yards and 1 touchdown on 18 attempts from Sr. Charles Sims, who’s become the workhorse in place of last season’s departed leading rusher Andrew Buie. WVU also got 4 receptions, 88 yards and 2 touchdowns from freshman WR Daikiel Shorts. Defensively, the Mountaineers stifled, holding Georgia State to just 220 total yards, but were  helped along by a miserable Panther passing game that could muster just 84 yards passing.

Maryland Terrapins vs. West Virginia Mountaineers Free Pick 9/21/13

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins are becoming an offensive juggernaut with Sr. C.J. Brown behind center. Brown led the Terps to 501 yards of total offense, marking their third straight game over 500 yards. For the season, Brown has recorded 833 yards and 6 touchdowns on 67% passing, while rushing for 257 yards and 5 touchdowns. Against UConn, Maryland also got strong showings from Soph. RB Brandon Ross, who rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries and Soph. WR Stefon Diggs, who caught 5 passes for 110 yards and one score. On the defensive side, the Terps fielded a stingy run defense that held the Husky ground game to just 34 yards rushing, but allowed 349 yards and one touchdown through the air.

Betting Trends: WVU is 5-10 ATS in its last 15 games, 4-2 SU in its last 6 games, 10-5 SU in its last 15 road games and the total has gone under in 4 of its last 5 road games. Maryland is 7-16 SU in its last 23 games, 4-10-1 ATS in its last 15 home games, 4-8 SU in its last 12 home games, and the total has gone over in 4 of its last 5 games.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this one currently has Maryland a slight favorite at -4.5 and it looks a little close to call. The Mountaineers haven’t been able to stop anybody defensively since the Rich Rodriguez era and even then it was just an option. C.J. Brown is likely to put up another 500 yards, which means WVU can only say in this one if Childress is, in fact, the real deal. And that’s still an unknown. Both defenses seem thin, so the over 47 looks like the play.  

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