MORGANTOWN-First-year West Virginia head football coach Dana Holgorsen has had his first taste of being a head coach and his baptism into the Friends of Coal Bowl against instate foe Marshall.
Now, the former-Iowa Wesleyan wide receiver gets his first opportunity to test his coaching abilities on the road as he leads the No. 18 Mountaineers (2-0) into College Park, Md., to take on the University of Maryland (1-0).
The noon kickoff, which is slated to be televised on ESPNU, at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium will be the 48th meeting between the border schools and the first meeting between the two head coaches.
West Virginia head Dana Holgorsen takes his team on the road to face Maryland Saturday. It will be the 48th meeting between the programs.
"I'm excited for it," Holgorsen explained. "We'll talk about it all week. You've got to play a bunch of road games and put yourself in hostile situations if you're going to have success.
"I like road games. The routine is typically the same as a home game, you go to the locker room at the same time, put your stuff on the same way, and you go out there and you play. There have been plenty of road games where we've gone out and been outnumbered and come out with a victory. To me, there's not a big difference."
He may change that opinion following Saturday's showdown.
No. 18 West Virginia
Time: Noon, Saturday
Place: Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium (54,000),
College Park, Md.
The Line: Maryland -1. The Series: WVU leads, 24-21-2
Television: ESPNU (Rob Stone, play-by-play; Danny Kanell, analyst, will broadcast the game). Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, play-by-play; Dwight Wallace, analyst; Hoppy Kercheval, host; Jed Drenning, sideline), Live statistics: MSNsportsNET.com; Twitter updates - Twitter.com/WVUSportsScores; Twitter.com/WVUSportsBuzz
Notes: West Virginia has won five straight games against Maryland ... Terps coach, Randy Edsall, who was the head coach at Connecticut for the past 13 years, has a 1-6 record against WVU, with his lone victory a 16-13 overtime victory in East Hartford last season ... West Virginia won last year's game against Maryland, played one year and a day earlier, 31-17 at home. ... WVU's Tavon Austin is the national leader in kickoff returns (48.0 yards per return).
Maryland, under first-year head coach Randy Edsall, opened its season in fine fashion with a 32-24 win over Miami (Fla.) in front of a nationally-televised audience. That won't be the case on Saturday, but Byrd Stadium will be filled to capacity as the Terrapins look to end a five-year drought against their rivals from the Mountain State.
"They (Maryland) have a very disciplined coach in coach (Randy) Edsall," said Holgorsen. "He prides himself on winning games. They are smart in what they do from a turnover-margin standpoint.
"They're sound in their kicking game and not a very penalized football team. That's the number one thing we've got to take care of. We've got to get good at what the gameplan is and line it up to try to win the game."
Something the Mountaineers have been able to do the last five times they have taken on Maryland, but not so well the previous four meetings-all won by the Terps. West Virginia holds a 24-21-2 edge in the series that began in 1919.
"Without a doubt," said the coach. "They're obviously a good football team. It's challenging. They've won some games, they've got kids that are used to winning and guys that were highly recruited
"If we want to consider ourselves a Top 20 team, win a national championship or go to a BCS bowl, then we've got to beat teams like this. We're looking forward to the challenge."
A challenge that begins with a Maryland defense that forced four turnovers (two interceptions and two fumbles) in the win over the Hurricanes and returned one of those 54 yards for the game-clinching touchdown-Cameron Chism's interception.
"It (turnovers) is something I've emphasized since I've been here. We'll work hard on it this week. Just because we haven't turned the ball over in two weeks doesn't mean we can relax.
"It's part of our everyday coaching efforts. Our style and how we practice is to make sure that we focus on those things."
In what has been a seasons of firsts for the Mountaineers' 33rd head coach the one he doesn't want to have on Saturday is WVU's first loss.