The Washington Times - September 17, 2011, 07:37AM

Off to the first of two sets of game day predictions …

1. Maryland will score more than one touchdown in the red zone. The concerns over Maryland’s first-game sputtering (one touchdown in seven trips inside the 20 against Miami) will be alleviated to some degree against West Virginia. The Terrapins will be more efficient in finishing off long drives; just don’t expect them to be in the red zone seven times. That’s not an easy thing to do once, let alone in consecutive games.


2. Kerry Boykins will at least double his targets from the opener. Quarterback Danny O’Brien threw 44 passes against Miami, with 18 directed at suspended wideouts Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler. Even if there’s a dip in passing attempts today, someone is going to have it thrown to them more often. Enter Boykins, a junior who caught two passes for 40 yards on three targets against Miami. He’ll see it a half-dozen times, if not more.

3. Maryland will use a freshman wide receiver. At least, it seems likely, anyway. The Terps primarily used four receivers against Miami, with a fifth (Tony Logan) making a cameo. Down two wideouts, there’s a decent chance one of the Terps’ plethora of freshman wideouts —- Devin Burns, Adrian Coxson and Marcus Leak, among them —- gets tossed into the game.

4. Tavon Austin will hit his season average for all-purpose yards. That would be 191.5 for the Mountaineers’ receiver and return man, who is a threat to break a long return against a Maryland coverage unit that struggled mightily against Miami. The Baltimore native will enjoy another fine day against the Terps after catching two touchdowns against his home-state team last year.

5. West Virginia will escape with a win in a rare close game in the series. For only the second time in 17 meetings, a Maryland-West Virginia game will be decided by single digits. It won’t be a blowout in favor of the Mountaineers like the last four meetings, but West Virginia’s collection of slippery skill position players will help it leave College Park with a tight victory.


—- Patrick Stevens