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Young Mountaineer defense to meet young Maryland offense

September 21, 2012
By John Wickline - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

MORGANTOWN - Maryland comes into Saturday's football game in Morgantown with an offense that while young, is extremely explosive.

True freshman quarterback Perry Hills leads the young Terps into the game, which will be a homecoming of sorts. Hills was playing quarterback for Central Catholic High School in nearby Pittsburgh at this time last year.

So the young Mountaineer defenders are hoping the 60,000-plus fans, the thought of playing in front of family so close to home and the pressure from a pass rush can rattle the youngster.

"If we can shake him up early in the game, he may try to do some things later that he shouldn't be doing," WVU defensive back Pat Miller said. "We have to hit him, put pressure on him."

Hills has thrown four interceptions through Maryland's first three games and he has been sacked eight times.

But he has tossed three touchdown passes, run for two more and is the team's third leading rusher through "mostly scrambling," according to WVU coach Dana Holgorsen.

"He's been hit a lot, so we have to be aggressive," Holgorsen said. "I don't care how old he is. It's our job to stop him."

Linebacker Doug Rigg said the Mountaineers' young defense cannot afford to let Hills get comfortable in a foreign setting.

"If a freshman gets confidence, then he will start playing like a veteran," Rigg said.

Another true freshman, Stefon Diggs, has been the Terrapins' main playmaker through the early-going. Diggs, who hails from the Baltimore area and wears No. 1 just like WVU's Tavon Austin, has caught nine passes. But it's when he returns kicks that he can be dangerous.

"Diggs ain't scared to make a play," Miller said. "Even though he's just a freshman, he tries to carry the team on his back and make plays."

Miller said that the Mountaineers' explosive offense can help the defense play even better. He said by having the team get out to a quick lead, "teams just can't run the ball.

"They have to pass just to keep up," he said. "We have to play hard and force turnovers to put the game out of reach."

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.



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