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Only losers: Rowdy spectators

by Chris Errington


MORGANTOWN -- Welcome to college football etiquette 101 -- and pay attention, West Virginia fans.

Mountaineer fans have been described as loyal, vocal and sometimes even a little critical. Saturday night, at least a handful could be described as just plain stupid.

On two separate occasions during the first half of WVU's game with Maryland, golf balls were thrown on the field and both times officials warned the crowd that their actions would result in WVU being penalized 15 yards.

Somehow, they didn't get the point.

Later in the second quarter, a third golf ball was thrown on the field, but an alert member of the WVU marching band quickly eliminated it before officials could see it. West Virginia got lucky once, but wouldn't get lucky again.

Following David Carter's block of a Maryland punt and subsequent touchdown that gave the Mountaineers a 28-3 lead, WVU had another chance to score when it got the ball back with less than a minute remaining in the half.

Enter another shot of stupidity.

Instead of a second-and-four at the Maryland 48 with plenty of time remaining, a whisky bottle magically appeared on the field. Apparently, its owner was trying to toss it into the nearest garbage can, but was just a bit off with his accuracy. Maybe it was the liquor or more likely ignorance, but either way this time a 15-yard penalty was assessed and West Virginia's drive was prematurely stopped.

And thanks to a national television broadcast by ESPN2, those who already call West Virginia the "Hillbilly State" or the "Drunk State" can point to the incident as proof -- 190 proof, that is.

Of course the incident didn't affect the outcome of the game, but it does make you think. I wonder if whoever threw the bottle has any eligibility left - with a heave like that, the Mountaineers could use him as a backup quarterback.

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Maryland quarterback Ken Mastrole may never want to visit West Virginia again.

Two seasons ago, Mastrole became the first Terrapins quarterback to start as a true freshman when he did it against the Mountaineers.

The results weren't pretty.

Maryland never crossed mid-field, finished the game with negative rushing yards and Mastrole didn't last long, being replaced by an injured Brian Cummings.

Saturday night, Mastrole came back to Morgantown looking to make amends. It didn't quite work out.

WVU's defense once again took control early, shut down Maryland's runners and made Mastrole's life miserable. The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native completed just 2-of-7 passes for 27 yards and could only put 3 points on the board.

West Virginia exploded for a 28-3 halftime lead and once again Mastrole was not to be found come the second half.

Luckily for him, his final game against the Mountaineers is at home.

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Is West Virginia really as good as its thrashing of Maryland Saturday night, or are the Terrapins just that bad?

Don't let Maryland's final stats fool you. Simply put, the Terrapins' offense was anemic. And their defense wasn't much better.

West Virginia did play much better on both sides of the ball than it did against No. 1 Ohio State two weeks earlier, gaining ??? total yards while giving up just ??? yards to Maryland, including 68 in the first half.

Amos Zereoue broke out for the 100-yard effort WVU fans have come to expect and the Mountaineers' passing game shred Maryland's defense the entire night. But it would be wise for WVU's players to not get a big head just yet. Remember, Maryland came in with high expectations following a close loss to No. 10 Virginia last week.