MORGANTOWN With most of West Virginia's traditional Eastern rivalries off the schedule for the foreseeable future because of joining the largely Midwestern and Southwestern Big 12 Conference, coach Dana Holgorsen is hoping that Maryland is the one constant that can remain on the Mountaineers' football schedule.
Saturday's contest at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown marks the 49th meeting between the schools from bordering states. The history includes a 29-year span between 1980-2007 before taking a two-year hiatus and resuming in 2010. The series dates back to 1919. The Mountaineers have won the last six meetings between the two schools to take a 25-21-2 advantage in the series.
"This is the one existing game that is going to continued to be played," Holgorsen said. "I've made reference to this a lot, as far as the non-conference schedule having to be very regional."
The Mountaineers have 10 players on their roster who call Maryland home, including standout wideout Tavon Austin.
"It's going to be important to them," Holgorsen said. "One of the things last year that was big, when we went and played at Cincinnati, the Ohio guys got everybody cranked up. When we went to Maryland, the Maryland people got people cranked up. When we played South Florida, the south Florida kids got people cranked up."
Maryland coach Randy Edsall said the series will be evaluated at the conclusion of the contract. He said with Notre Dame joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, the athletic directors at each school will have to discuss the issue."
"We still have to play them six more times," said Edsall, who holds a 1-7 record against the Mountaineers dating back to his days as the head coach at Connecticut.
Maryland, 3-10 against West Virginia when the Mountaineers enter the contest as a ranked team, has played WVU more than it has any other non-ACC opponent. Actually, Maryland has faced just six other schools more than it has West Virginia.
"This series is one of the few remaining rival games because it is a neighboring state, and we have a history with them," Holgorsen said. "This isn't the last time we're going to play. We're going to continue to play. It's going to mean a lot to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. But from a regional standpoint, it's very important."
Kick-off is slated for noon, and the game will be televised on the FX network. A limited number of tickets remain. This weekend is also WVU Sports Hall of Fame induction. Those ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. It is free and open to the public.