Every week the staff at Testudo Times answer my questions whether they want to or not. We recap our UConn impressions and preview WVU this weekend.
Q: After the team proved they could win without playing a great all-around game, what was your biggest takeaway from the game?
Pete Volk - I had two main takeaways -- Maryland was not going to just cruise to a 12-0 mark, and the Terps are resilient enough to win games they struggle in. The latter will be extremely important now, as the Terps head into the real section of their schedule.
Dave Tucker - For me, the biggest takeaway was that Maryland won the game and did so without it really being in doubt. In recent years, had they turned the ball over that many times and committed that many mistakes, they would have been on the losing end.
- We knew Maryland was one of the youngest teams in the country, and they proved it against UConn. However, they were able to overcome their mistakes. Whether it was C.J. Brown's first pick, Dexter McDougle's
injury, no matter. The team proved they could overcome adverse circumstances and that will be a benefit in the future.
- Connecticut is really, really bad. The Terps' performance was encouraging, no doubt, but I didn't derive too much from it. I suppose I got a little further confirmation that Stefon Diggs
, C.J. Brown and Marcus Whitfield
are all going to be just fine.
Molly Geary - My biggest takeaway from the game is that there is something different about this year's team. The Terps of 2011 or last season might let their early struggles get the best of them or collapsed down the stretch after the fumbles but this years team was resilient and was able to get the win still with relative ease. It was very encouraging to me, even though they obviously did not play their best game and the Huskies aren't world-beaters.
Todd Carton - My main takeaway is that this team is still a work in progress. UConn is not a top level team and the Terps still managed to turn the ball over three times. The problems on fourth down and short yardageexecution also troubled me a bit. If the Terps can't gain a yard in that situation against Connecticut, what's going to happen against good defenses. On the other hand, there's a lot to be encouraged about. The offense certainly looks like it has no dearth of playmakers and the defense made stops when they needed to. Add the fact that this was the first road game for a relatively young team and one can certainly see the promise.
Q: There wasn't a clear-cut player of the game this week, who was your player of the game?
PV - For me, it's got to be Dexter McDougle. Both of his interceptions came at huge times, and the touchdown really broke open the game for the Terps.
DT - I have to say Dexter McDougle with his 2 interceptions and because of his injury. I still feel so bad for the guy.
BD - I'm taking Marcus Whitfield. We can argue whether the pressure forced the interceptions or the great coverage allowed Whitfield to get to the QB all day. That said, Whitfield had 3.0 sacks on the night and was a force coming around the edge. I was tempted to go with Dexter or C.J. again, despite the interception (how dare he), but Whitfield's night gets the edge.
AK - Dexter McDougle. He terrorized Chandler Whitmer all night, until he got injured.
MG - Going to go with Dexter McDougle and his two interceptions. Such a shame that it was the last we'll see of him in a Maryland uniform.
TC - I have to go with Marcus Whitfield. I think the pressure on Whitmer solidified the performance of the defense. Of course, the fact remains that there is only one Stefon Diggs and he could be POTG every week.
Q: The great start to the season for Maryland took a hit this week when we found out that Dexter McDougle would be out for the rest of the year, what is your panic level on a scale of 1-10 over this injury?
DT - Right now, probably a 4, but I think we have to wait and see how and what we do against WVU. There is just no depth behind the remaining corners so that is what's most concerning to me. Should another corner just twist an ankle, we could be in trouble.
BD - I'm at a seven right now, but regardless of how they perform this weekend, it is likely to rise. Florida State and Jameis Winston terrified me before the loss of McDougle, now... color me worried.
AK - I'm at an eight, with a serious chance to get up to 10 if Will Likely and Isaac Goins don't each play effective cornerback this season. McDougle was easily the most talented member of Maryland's secondary and one of the best corners in the conference. Coupled with the Jeremiah Johnson injury, his absence should have all of us on DEFCON 2.
MG - My panic level is about a six right now. I'm definitely concerned and it's a big blow to the defense, but I'm not full-out pushing the panic button just yet. Saturday should prove to be a good measuring stick.
TC - I'm at about a five right now. I have a lot of trust in Stewart to dial up confusion and in our linebackers and line to pressure opposing qbs. Of course, if WVU handles the rush and we see Likely and Goins get torched, then it's full out, "DANGER WILL ROBINSON!" time.
Q: Do you like the idea of playing one game a year in an NFL stadium?
PV - As long as it's the Ravens stadium, sure. I don't say that as a Ravens fan (I'm not one), but I think expanding the Maryland brand to Baltimore like this can only be a good idea.
-I think it really depends. I talked a lot about it here
, where my main point was that moving a game to an NFL stadium is okay if it's a marque non-conference game, but I really don't like the idea of moving a future B1G game away from Byrd and off campus. I understand doing it in the short term, especially since Maryland is getting $3.5 mil for having this game at M&T and that's a great revenue stream the department needs at the moment, but I hope they don't continue the conference game practice into the future.
BD - You guys, well those of you over 21, will be able to buy beer. This sounds like a win for everyone, count me in.
AK - Yes -- as long as, like this year, Maryland doesn't lose a home game. I'd much rather have a nearby neutral site game than a standard road game. I'm a student, and I'll get to go to seven games this year instead of six. Sign me up.
MG - Maybe not every year, but once every two years sounds ideal to me. I also agree with Alex that it's under the condition that it's in addition to six home games and not replacing one.
TC - If M&T Bank is paying the Terps $3.5 million every year, I'm all in.
Q: West Virginia is the best opponent Maryland will have faced so far this season and a big rival. How much would ending the seven-game losing streak to the Mountaineers mean to this team and fan base?
PV - It would be absolutely huge -- both for this team's belief in itself and for the fans' belief in the team. If Maryland beats West Virginia, I would not think there will be any issues with attendance for the remainder of the year.
DT -Scott McBrien was Maryland's quarterback the last time we beat WVU. I was still in college. It's been a while and it would mean a lot. I really hope Maryland can put up a lot of points offensively with the speed and talent they have, in a similar way to what WVU has done to the Terps in the Steve Slaton days.
BD - I think it would mean a lot more to the fans and boosters than it would the media and coaches. The fans need this win over a rival, and future attendance will be hanging in the balance. 5-0 or 4-1 heading in to the game against Virginia will look a lot better than 3-2.
AK - It would mean a lot, because it would mark a 4-0 start and coincide with what seems to be this team's rise. Personally, losing streaks against teams don't do a whole lot for me because of the small sample size and luck involved.
MG - I think it will be huge to the fanbase. A win on Saturday would kind of be a perfect storm for the fans -- 4-0, beating West Virginia, snapping the losing streak to them, probably picking up a few votes in the polls, and going into a bye week. I honestly think a win here would put the general fanbase confidence as high as it's been since the win over Miami in 2011.
TC - I think this means an enormous amount. I can envision a win giving the team a lot of confidence and juicing up the fan base. And the fan base is going to need lots of juicing to stay excited going into a bye week and then facing a probable loss at FSU before the next home game. It also won't hurt recruiting because it reinforces the perception of Maryland as a program on the upswing. Finally, 4-0 going into the bye means the Terps can start smelling bowl game.
Q: And finally, your game prediction!
PV - A: This is a tough one for me, but here goes. Maryland 31, West Virginia 28. Prediction subject to change after spending a few hours working on the preview.
DT - I think Maryland might struggle a little defensively, but they're going to be able to put up points on offense. I think their 500 yard streak comes to an end, but they still win 34-24.
BD - I see a Maryland win, but I see a shootout -- Maryland 41, West Virginia 38
AK - It's very tempting to pick West Virginia, because Maryland's cornerbacks could very well be unable to do a thing to stop the vertical passing game. Because the Terps are a more talented top-to-bottom team, I'll pick them, but it won't surprise me a bit if Maryland drops this one. 38-35, Terps, in a shootout.
MG - Expecting this to go down to the wire. I'll say Maryland 38, West Virginia 33.
TC - The Mountaineers get dropped in the sauce 31-21.
What are your predictions for the WVU game?