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September 13, 2007

Mountaineers pound Maryland 31-14

After West Virginia won the opening coin toss and deferred possession to the second half, Maryland junior quarterback Jordan Steffy fumbled on the first play of the game, setting WVU up deep in Terrapin territory.

Two plays later, junior quarterback Pat White faked a hand-off to senior fullback Owen Schmitt and scampered 22 yards for a touchdown. Junior Pat McAfee converted the extra point to give the Mountaineers a 7-0 lead only 45 seconds in. It was White's 18th rushing touchdown in WVU's last ten games.

Maryland responded with a 11-play, 75-yard drive highlighted by a 33-yard pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey on third down. Capping the drive was a four-yard Keon Lattimore touchdown run with 9:53 left in the first quarter. Obi Egekeze tied the game at seven with the extra point.

West Virginia mixed run and pass to move the chains into Maryland territory as far as the 28-yard line, but an illegal formation call, a Steve Slaton reverse run that was stopped for a loss, and a sack of White forced WVU to punt. The ball was downed at the three-yard line with 5:03 left in the quarter.

Maryland kept the ball for the rest of the quarter, but were unable to move into scoring range.

After the first quarter, Maryland had amassed 114 total yards to West Virginia's 54 and had the ball nine minutes and 29 seconds. For Maryland, Steffy completed all four of his passes for 64 yards, while Lattimore carried the ball 11 times for 49 yards. White completed three of four passes for 23 yards and ran for 16 more; Slaton put up 25 total yards for the Mountaineers.

A few plays after Maryland punted to begin the second quarter, runs of a total of 63 yards on back-to-back plays by senior Owen Schmitt and Slaton moved the ball inside the Maryland 5. But the Terps stopped White and Schmitt for losses on the first two plays, and a Slaton run on third down didn't punch it in either. McAfee's first field goal try of the season was wide left from 22 yards.

Maryland went three-and-out, then West Virginia took over with 7:20 to go in the first half. A 35-yard pass from White to senior Darius Reynaud on third down set up a 22-yard Slaton run to give the Mountaineers the lead back after the extra point, 14-7, capping a seven-play, 78 yard drive.

With 5:02 left in the first half, Maryland moved the ball past midfield, but with 2:21 left, an under-pressure Steffy's pass was picked off by senior Eric Wicks on the sideline. It was Steffy's first incomplete pass of the game.

The two teams traded punts and turnovers, with Wicks intercepting the ball in the end zone to end the half. It was the first two-interception game of the senior safety's career.

At the half, West Virginia had 12 first downs to Maryland's eight and 224 total yards to the Terps' 142. White was 5-for-9 passing the ball and had eight runs for seven yards, while Slaton ran for 86 yards in the second quarter alone and 104 in the half, over four times his total of 23 first-half yards against Western Michigan and Marshall.

After freshman Noel Devine returned the opening kickoff of the second half to the WVU 37, the Mountaineers moved the chains with a 21-yard pass to Dorrell Jalloh; White kept it for another first down on the ground on the next play. Devine's first carry of the game went 31 yards to the shadow of the Terrapin goal line. Slaton punched it in three plays later for his second touchdown of the game and McAfee's kick made it 21-7.

After three punts, Devine intervention in the Mountaineer backfield again turned into a big West Virginia play; the freshman went 76 yards to move the ball to the Maryland 1. The jaunt tied for the longest non-touchdown run in WVU history with Jim Moss' 1962 scamper against William and Mary. The run also pushed the Mountaineers over 300 rushing yards for the evening.

Slaton's third touchdown moved within one of tying the school record shared by Ira Rodgers and Avon Cobourne with his 41st career rushing touchdown, passing Amos Zereoue on the list.

A Mortty Ivy sack of Steffy on third down of the subsequent drive capped the third quarter.

West Virginia drove again, moving the ball 49 yards to set up a 32-yard field goal from McAfee and pushing the score to 31-7.

Maryland's offense then came to life for the first time in the half. After going one of their last eight on third down, the Terps went two-for-two, the second going through the air from Steffy to Danny Oquendo for a touchdown with 5:50 left in the fourth quarter. It also snapped an eight-possession scoring drought for Maryland and was Steffy's first touchdown pass of the season.

After a successful Maryland onside kick, WVU senior linebacker Marc Magro sacked Steffy for a nine-yard loss on first down, then the Terrapin signal-caller muffed the snap to lose four more. A 17-yard pass to Heyward-Bey set up fourth and six, but a second Magro sack forced a turnover on downs and sealed the game.


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