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Mountaineer "D" gets A on Terrapin homework

by Joedy McCreary


MORGANTOWN -- If it seemed like West Virginia's defensive front knew exactly what Maryland was doing, there's a perfectly good explanation.

The Mountaineers did know.

"We had an advantage to see what they did against Virginia, and what they wanted to do against us," said nose guard Charlton Forbes. "We worked on those plays, and it helped us."

West Virginia's first-team defense had its way with the Terps' running game.

The Mountaineer starters held Maryland's ballyhooed backs to just 37 yards before exiting midway through the third quarter of WVU's 42-20 win Saturday at Mountaineer Field.

Terps QB Ken Mastrole wondered aloud if the Mountaineers had stolen the Maryland playbook. Mastrole was sacked twice and could not get anything going offensively.

"They did their homework," Mastrole said. "It seemed like they knew all our schemes."

Before the game, WVU coach Don Nehlen spoke highly of Terps tailbacks LaMont Jordan and Harold Westley, two shake-and-bake runners who combined for 143 yards in the Terrapins' 31-19 loss to No. 10 Virginia last Saturday.

Nehlen had referred to Jordan as a "big-league back" and said Jordan and Wesley were a quality duo.

But they combined for just 23 yards on 17 carries. Jordan had just 1 yard on nine carries before leaving the game with a scratched eyeball.

Jordan's longest run was 4 yards, and Westley's best was a 9-yard gain.

Matt Kalapinski led the Terps' rushers with 80 yards. But 46 --including yardage on both his touchdowns -- came against the Mountaineer reserves in the second half.

"Their defense was a lot better than Virginia's," Kalapinski said. "They came hard off the line at the snap and pushed us off the line of scrimmage."

Moving Mark Thurston to rush linebacker helped the Mountaineers establish themselves on the line of scrimmage, Terps coach Ron Vanderlinden said. The Terps started freshman Jamie Wu at guard.

"And Thurston just had his way with the guard," Vanderlinden said.

Dominating the line of scrimmage enabled WVU to establish an effective pass rush, defensive tackle John Thornton said.

And ultimately, it helped the starting Mountaineer defense put forth an effort that rivaled that of the West Virginia defense against Maryland in 1996. The Mountaineers, who had the top-ranked defense in the country that year, didn't allow the Terps past midfield in a 13-0 victory.

"It was really important for us to get a pass rush and get to the quarterback a little bit," Thornton said.