Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

June 28, 2014

Week 3 in college football: Rivalry games for MU, WVU

BLUEFIELD — If Marshall has a rivalry game on its 2014 football schedule, it will be Ohio in Week 3.

There are Conference USA foes such as Southern Mississippi, Rice and Alabama-Birmingham waiting late in the season, but none could be termed natural rivals. That is a definite issue for Marshall in the always-changing landscape of CUSA.

Marshall will open the Week 3 outlook for the upcoming season. Other games on tap will be West Virginia at Big 10 newcomer Maryland, Virginia Tech hosting East Carolina and Virginia entertaining ACC first-timer Louisville. Locally, Bluefield will visit the Apprentice School in Newport News, Va., while Concord travels to West Virginia State.

Ohio has been a nemesis for the Herd, having won the last three meetings in the series, the last two by three points each. Marshall won the previous two, including in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in 2009.

While Marshall enters this season with high expectations, the Bobcats are looking to improve on a 7-6 mark with just four returning starters on offense, but eight on defense. This will also be their third straight road game to open the year, following trips to Kent State and Kentucky.

Ohio used to be a pushover, going 35 years without a bowl game, but since Frank Solich arrived from Nebraska nine seasons ago, the Bobcats have had six winning seasons, played in six bowl games and won two of them.

Marshall had 147 more yards on offense last season than the Bobcats, but still lost because of four turnovers. Hang onto the ball in this one, and the Herd will leave this one with a 3-0 record.

Prediction: Marshall (3-0).


West Virginia has found competing Big 12 to be a tall task, compiling a 6-12 league mark (11-14 overall) in two seasons. Yet, Maryland might find it even tougher in the Big 10.

At least the Mountaineers have tradition, including 11 straight winning seasons before last year's 4-8 debacle. Over the last five years, the Terrapins have had a pair of two-win campaigns and another with four.

The Terps did improve to 7-6 last year in their third year under Randy Edsall, including a 37-0 thumping to the Mountaineers in Morgantown. That snapped a seven-game losing skid against West Virginia, and was the school's first shutout since 2008.

West Virginia will have settled in with Clint Trickett at quarterback, and a talented backfield that will face a defense that returns nine starters, and held the Mountaineers to just 175 yards last season.

West Virginia's defense will face a C.J. Brown-led offense that also includes nine returners, led by talented receiver Stefon Diggs.

Forget last year. West Virginia had better do just that, especially with a clash slated for Week 4 against Top 5 Oklahoma.

This is a tough one to call, but go with the Terrapins on their home field. The heat gets hotter for Dana Holgorsen.

Prediction: Maryland (West Virginia, 1-2).

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