Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

September 14, 2006

Early test

WVU to clash with Maryland

MORGANTOWN — A rivalry develops over time. It can’t be created.

When West Virginia played Marshall earlier this season, it was a man-made rivalry without any hint of a true conflict between bitter adversaries.

That changes tonight. Earlier this week, West Virginia linebacker Kevin McLee said it best: “We don’t like each other.”

West Virginia vs. Maryland at Mountaineer Field. The matchup oozes of blood, sweat...rivalry. It’s been remarkably close, as evidenced by the 21-21-2 record in the series.

“The history of the series between West Virginia and Maryland has been very physical, very close and has been a great rivalry,” West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “Nothing has changed, it is very, very intense and I’m sure it will be Thursday night.”

Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen had the option at one time to drop the West Virginia series, but refused to make that move.

“I think it's very important; the relationship and rivalry we have with West Virginia is great for both programs,” Friedgen said. “I had a choice not to play West Virginia when I first got here and I didn't want that.

“I wanted to play West Virginia so we would have that rivalry. It's a great college football game, it always is. It's good, tough, hard-nosed football from both teams. Hopefully we can go in there and get a win.”

Both teams enter 2-0, but neither has met much resistance. No. 5 West Virginia has hammered Marshall and Eastern Washington by a combined 94-13, while Maryland defeated Middle Tennessee State (24-10) and William & Mary (27-14).

While West Virginia has won the last two meetings between the clubs, Rodriguez is just 2-4 against Maryland.

“We felt really disappointed the first few times we played them even though they clearly outplayed us and were the better team,” Rodriguez said. “We made a lot of mistakes and we weren’t giving them our best shot.

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