MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sure, West Virginia has won seven straight games against Maryland, but there’s another streak on the line Saturday: Five consecutive wins for the Mountaineers in NFL stadiums.
WVU and Maryland face off at 3:30 p.m. at M&T Stadium, home of the defending Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens.
“It makes you feel like you’re in the big time—almost like fulfilling a dream as a little kid,” said cornerback Icky Banks. “I mean, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis actually played on this field. It’s shocking, makes your eyes get big.”
Last season, West Virginia defeated James Madison 42-12 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. In 2011, the Mountaineers beat Cincinnati 24-21 at Paul Brown Stadium and USF 30-27 at Raymond James Stadium before crushing Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Back in 2010, WVU defeated Pitt 35-10 at Heinz Field.
“Our guys get jacked up about that,” said Dana Holgorsen. “It’s a big stage.”
West Virginia’s coach didn’t waste a chance to poke fun at Pitt by mentioning that when the Mountaineers have played at certain NFL venues, it’s typically “not a 100-percent home crowd.”
“It’s much like the Big East was,” he said. “When you went to Pitt, West Virginia had a lot of people.”
Among the 71,000 seats at M&T Stadium, West Virginia should have a sizable cheering section. Along with selling out its 5,000-seat visitors’ allotment, WVU fans were estimated to have bought an additional 10,000 tickets through other avenues.
“I don’t view this as an away game—it’s more like a neutral-site game,” Holgorsen said. “I know it is a home game for Maryland, but I feel like we’ll travel pretty well and there will be some Mountaineer energy there.”
The last time WVU lost in an NFL stadium? When it closed the 2009 season with a 33-21 Gator Bowl loss to Florida State in Jacksonville.