The Mountaineers kick off the 2021 college football season on the road, traveling to College Park, Maryland to take on the Maryland Terrapins.
Check out our staff predictions for each game, starting with week one versus Maryland:
Ashley O’Brien: West Virginia rarely likes to deliver a boring game and I think this Saturday’s season opener will be nothing short of nail-biting. If West Virginia’s offense can score in the red zone and the defense can stop Taulia Tagovailoa, the Mountaineers will bring their first win of the season home. The Mountaineers will have big shoes to fill on the defense after players like Darius Stills and Tykee Smith left. but hopefully the younger players on defense have grown and are ready to step up. While I think the Mountaineers will beat the Terrapins, I think the game will be a close match-up down to the last few possessions.
West Virginia 24, Maryland 21
Ethan Bock: Last season under Taulia Tagovailoa, the Terrapins averaged roughly 24 points-per-game. I think WVU’s retooled defense will keep them at that exact average. The Mountaineers lost big defensive pieces like Darius Stills, Tony Fields, Dreshun Miller, Jeffery Pooler and Tykee Smith but this year’s defense will be very good still with guys stepping up this off-season. West Virginia brings back Jarret Doege with targets like Leddie Brown, Winston Wright and Bryce Ford-Wheaton. The line that will support Doege will be very good this season, they just need to fix on the off-sides penalties. For the first game of the season, I think the Mountaineers start off on a good note against long-time rival Maryland.
West Virginia 28, Maryland 24
Wesley Shoemaker: Football is finally back and West Virginia gets to play a rival on the road. I think this game will be a coming out party for quarterback Jarret Doege. All signs point to Doege having had a very successful offseason, and I think the hard work has paid off. The focus of the Maryland defense will be on Leddie Brown, and I think Doege will take advantage of that. Look for the defense to be able to put pressure on Taulia Tagovailoa. I expect West Virginia fans to travel extremely well, with this being the first full capacity game since 2019, and a lot has changed since then. Expect West Virginia fans to be loud, and for the players to feed off of that. West Virginia’s experience will be the difference, and they will hold on late to win a close one.
West Virginia 27, Maryland 20
Quinn Burkitt: I feel like this matchup between a pair of teams who have played each other a lot over the years is always a good game, especially to kick off the season. I see the Mountaineers taking care of business in College Park in this one as a strong defensive front of Dante Stills, Akheem Mesidor and Jordan Jefferson shut down Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terrapins backfield. I also predict that Jarret Doege will come out of the gates strong hitting a number of open receivers and Bryce Ford-Wheaton will lead all receivers with a couple of touchdowns on the day. Only time will tell how special of a college running back Leddie Brown will be but he could begin his senior season with a bang in this one if the newly renovated West Virginia offensive line can open up some holes for Brown.
West Virginia: 35 Maryland: 17
Hayley Maguire: There’s been a lot of build up for the opener this season. The Mountaineers have a lot of returning talent. I think a lot of people aren’t realizing the potential this team has and going into Neal Brown’s third season at WVU, things are only getting better. Maryland’s offense is not consistent and WVU is packing heat in both offense and defense. Maryland’s defense isn’t explosive enough to put up too much of a fight. It’ll be a close game throughout, but Mountaineers will pull through for their first road win and first win of the 2021 season.
West Virginia: 28 Maryland: 21
Aaron Parker: For the 2021 opener at Maryland, I am predicting that the Mountaineers will give the fans a stressful win in College Park. I think the offensive line, with new Spring Valley weapons Doug Nester and Wyatt Milum, will protect Jarret Doege and Leddie Brown well. I tend to think the defense will give up a couple big plays in the game from Taulia Tagovailoa because of the lack of experience, but will also force a couple turnovers. My prediction is that Leddie Brown scores two touchdowns in the game; one on a handoff and one receiving. I believe the Mountaineers will hold a two-touchdown lead most of the game, but end up only winning by 1 touchdown after failing to close well.
West Virginia: 31, Maryland, 24
Carleigh Minor: West Virginia Football has always seemed to peek everyone’s interest, whether you’re a Mountaineer or not. Moving into this upcoming season you see a lot of strong players who have graduated, but I believe the defense will stay strong through this season overcoming many teams. This is going to be a very interesting season with new upcoming players. Being the season opener against Taulia Tagovailoa will definitely be a very great game to watch. WVU quarterback is going to be making very sharp passes, making it easy for us to complete passes and score. I do think it is going to be a close game, although I think the Mountaineers will be the Terrapines.
West Virginia 28, Maryland 26