The good and bad extremes from West Virginia’s 31-21 victory over Maryland on Saturday:
Worst hearing: Whistles blared for an illegal procedure penalty, but they didn’t stop WVU safety Travis Bell from blind-siding Maryland’s defenseless quarterback Perry Hills after the play was dead. No flag was thrown, and Hills was knocked woozy, leaving the game for a play.
Best 140-character critique of the refs: Maryland defensive lineman A.J. Francis, a Twitter All-American if ever one existed, tweeted he "Still can’t believe the refs let @Perry_Hills get drilled in the back after they blew the whistle and didn’t flag the guy… Unbelievable." And Francis found it odd he WAS called for roughing Geno Smith in the fourth quarter. "And later in the game I get flagged for hitting Geno late, while the play is still going on… It was a late hit, but the dichotomy is crazy."
Best Heisman candidate who had an off day: West Virginia’s Geno Smith missed a few open receivers but still threw for 338 yards and three scores on 30-of-43 passing.
Best QB who was in high school last year: Maryland’s Hills showed plenty of toughness in the pocket and touch on his passes, completing 20-of-29 for 305 yards and three scores.
Worst plea for a Chef Boyardee endorsement: Linebacker Josh Francis playfully explained his two sacks by comparing West Virginia’s blitz schemes to spaghetti going through in a strainer. "If everybody’s in their right gaps," he said, "some of it gets through."
Best Ray Guy impersonation: Within the span of a week, WVU’s Corey Smith went from liability to weapon, averaging 44.6 yards on seven punts — twice pinning Maryland inside its 10.
Best sideline awareness: West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey tipping a ball to himself along the boundary for a first-quarter 8-yard catch.
Worst sideline awareness: WVU’s Corey Smith deflating the WVU crowd by knocking the opening kickoff out of bounds.
Best surprise for WVU fans: Seeing last year’s top rusher Dustin Garrison make his 2012 debut, showing that he’s recovering from last December’s ACL tear and could become a factor later in the season.
Worst surprise for WVU fans: Not seeing Shawne Alston get a single carry Saturday. The Mountaineers’ starting tailback was hampered by a deep thigh bruise he sustained against James Madison, an injury the West Virginia coaches concealed all week.
Best proof that tight ends still exist in some college offenses: Meet All-ACC candidate Matt Furstenburg, Maryland’s senior tight end, who victimized WVU with four catches for 65 yards.
Best one-on-one between No. 1s: During the postgame, WVU senior Tavon Austin — after a 13-catch, three-touchdown day — sought out Maryland freshman phenom Stefon Diggs, who showed some Austin-like moves on a TD catches of 42 and 56 yards. "I told him he was going to be a good player," Austin said, "but I couldn’t let that young boy outshine me."
Worst uniforms: On Saturday, it was those West Virginia grays. By a long shot. Keeping the traditional blue helmets would have helped, but these muted, humdrum togs should be retired to the novelty closet. Maryland’s "White Ops" on the other hand … very crisp.