COLLEGE PARK, MD. - One of these days, West Virginia will put together two good halves in the same day.
For now, one outstanding half per game is good enough.
Geno Smith threw for 388 yards, and the 18th-ranked Mountaineers withstood a comeback by Maryland to pull out a 37-31 victory Saturday.
One week earlier, West Virginia (3-0) trailed Norfolk State at halftime before pulling away. The Mountaineers addressed that deficiency and used what they learned to build a 27-10 lead at the break against the stunned Terrapins.
The margin swelled to 24 points before Maryland (1-1) rallied, closing to 34-31 with 10 minutes, 29 seconds to go.
"We kind of let off the gas, not intentionally, but I just think we came out fired up," Smith said. "We didn't put together four solid quarters. We did good in the first half."
Fortunately for the Mountaineers, Maryland never found a way to shut down Smith. He directed a 14-play, 65-yard drive that produced a field goal with 4:42 left, leaving the Terrapins no choice but to score a touchdown in the final minutes.
Maryland moved to the West Virginia 35 before Eain Smith intercepted a Danny O'Brien pass with 1:13 remaining to saddle coach Randy Edsall with his first defeat at Maryland.
"I thought we made too many errors out there," Edsall said, referring to the Terrapins' three turnovers and seven penalties. "... We didn't get it done today because West Virginia is a good team and we made some mistakes."
Both teams used the no-huddle offense with uncanny efficiency. West Virginia finished with 480 yards and Maryland amassed 477.