The Mountaineers did not get off to the start they envisioned in their first game of the season.
WVU football dropped its opening tilt to Maryland by a score of 30-24.
Turnovers were the difference in a close affair that saw two completely different-looking halves.
The first two quarters were all offense and plenty of points. Maryland kicked a field goal right before halftime to cut WVU’s lead to 21-20.
There were only 13 more points scored the entire game, with none coming in the third quarter. The Mountaineers managed just a field goal late to get the game within one possession.
This result left WVU backers with a loss to start the season too. The team was giving -3 in the point spread and owned a moneyline around -150 at West Virginia sportsbooks.
The positive news is the Mountaineers return home to Morgantown this weekend and should enjoy themselves. They take on an FCS opponent in Long Island University.
LIU got off to a tough start, falling to C-USA’s Florida International by 38 points.
Let’s take a look back at what went wrong against Maryland and the odds available for the upcoming tilt with LIU.
Mountaineers Lose Opener
We thought the first game at Maryland would be a tough one, but this contest was stranger than most.
It began with both teams showing minimal resistance on defense, as five of the first six possessions produced points.
WVU scored three touchdowns on its first four times on the field, with one thanks in part to a long kick return (98 yards) from Winston Wright Jr.
Quarterback Jarret Doege and the offense fell apart after that, punting four times and committing four turnovers. He threw two interceptions, but both Leddie Brown and Wright Jr. coughed up a fumble.
Besides the Mountaineers’ last drive when the Terps were playing back up nine points, the offense accounted for only 95 yards in the second half.
Doege finished the afternoon with 277 yards on 60% passing. He did throw a touchdown to his running back in the first quarter to go with the two picks.
Brown was decent on the ground but didn’t have many explosion plays. He rushed for 69 yards on 16 carries while adding 43 receiving yards. Brown also scored all three of WVU’s touchdowns.
Junior Sam James led the receivers this week with five grabs for 65 yards.
The WVU defense settled in during the latter quarters but didn’t have a good day overall.
They surrendered nearly 500 yards to Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terps offense. The QB threw for 332 yards on 72% passing and tossed in three scores.
He wasn’t the only one to have a great showing. Two different receivers exceeded the century mark in yards, while running back Tayon Fleet-Davis had his way with 123 rushing yards.
WVU didn’t force any turnovers on its end, but a few guys made some notable plays.
Seniors Sean Mahone and Josh Chandler-Semedo both topped 10 tackles total, with two others, VanDarius Cowan and Dante Stills, notching the only sacks.
WVU Football Vs. LIU Preview
The Mountaineers should be able to right many of their wrongs from a week ago. If they have any intention of putting together a successful campaign, then they should have an easy game on Saturday.
LIU is 0-1 this season following a tough opening defeat. The school didn’t actually play any of its regular season in 2020 but instead played four games during the spring.
The Sharks went 2-2 during those games, with wins over Bryant and Merrimack.
Despite the lopsided loss to FIU, Long Island had a few players stand out.
Five Sharks saw at least five carries last week, including quarterback Camden Orth. Jonathan DeBique was the most productive, accumulating 34 yards on just seven rushes.
Wide receiver Derick Eugene was the only one on the team to catch more than two passes. He did much more, with seven grabs totaling 115 yards.
Long Island trailed early in its first tilt; however, it continued to run the ball consistently. The Sharks ran it 36 times compared to only 31 pass attempts.
WVU should expect to see the same.
Since LIU also doesn’t envision itself coming away with a victory, it probably won’t switch up its regular game plan if it falls behind.
On the other side of things, the Mountaineers should do whatever they please on offense. The running game should have a field day, in part because the line will likely dominate up front.
Expect for Brown to have a massive showing and for several other backs to get into the mix, too.
Florida International ran for over 300 yards against LIU last week.
The passing attack should also look much improved. Long Island gave up 296 yards through the air in its first action, with opposing quarterbacks completing almost 80% of passes.
Betting On WVU-LIU
Unfortunately, because there is such a massive difference between the two sides, there aren’t any odds available yet at WV sportsbooks. There aren’t odds up for the matchup between Alabama and Mercer, either.
It’s possible that some books will release a betting line closer to the start of game time.
Often when there’s a sizable difference between two teams, sportsbooks will allow you to wager only on the point spread, without a moneyline option.
For instance, this week, Boston College is laying -37 against Massachusetts, and DraftKings WV Sportsbook doesn’t offer a moneyline.
If a betting line does come out, expect for it to be even larger than that. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Mountaineers have a 99.6% chance of earning a win.