The running game, which was ranked No. 2 nationally with 7.4 yards per carry, finished with 25 carries for 25 yards -- the worst output since finishing with negative-10 yards against Syracuse in 1996.
Starting running back Shawne Alston was limited by thigh bruise and barely played. Dustin Garrison, who missed the first two games as he recovered from the torn left ACL he suffered in December, made his 2012 debut. He carried twice for one yard. Andrew Buie led the team with 14 carries for 33 yards.
Maryland receiver Stephon Diggs caught three passes for 113 yards and two scores, including a 56-yard play just 53 seconds after Austin's fourth-quarter score. Quarterback Perry Hills finished 20-for-29 for 305 yards.
The Mountaineers from the first half looked little like the explosive team from the previous three games and actually played without a lead for the first time in a long time. Appropriately enough, it was the defense that got things going on a day the offense would occasionally sputter.
Cook timed a blitz perfectly on a Maryland second down at WVU's 30-yard line. He hit Hills as he dropped back to hand the ball to Brandon Ross. The ball popped out and rolled toward midfield. Linebacker Doug Rigg scooped it up and raced 51 yards for a touchdown.
Defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said he put the blitz into the game plan this week.
"Worked out pretty well," Cook said.
The defense then forced a punt and helped matters by confusing Hills on third-and-5 and drawing a delay of game penalty. The Mountaineers needed two plays to score, moving 34 yards first on a tricky screen pass to Buie when Smith first faked a sweep the other way to Austin. Smith then connected with Austin on a crossing route that went 44 yards for a score on the next play for a 14-0 lead.
The Terrapins replied in five plays and scored when fellow Baltimore native Diggs mimicked Austin with a crossing route that went for a 42-yard touchdown. WVU had the first of two three-and-outs in the first half on the next series and Maryland converted three third downs to tie the score.
After picking up first downs on third-and-5 and third-and-8, Maryland called a timeout on third-and-8 at WVU's 12 and scored on a Hills pass to Marcus Leak. The score was tied and WVU was not leading a game for the first time since early in the second quarter or the Orange Bowl -- or 181 minutes, 9 seconds of game clock.
The Mountaineers then put together what amounts to a marathon drive this season with a 15-play possession that went but 55 yards and lasted 4:45. It was not without incident, though, and on third-and-goal at the Maryland 8, the blitzer ripped off Smith's helmet. That would have been a 15-yard personal foul penalty and a first down at the 4, but WVU had an offensive lineman up field as an ineligible receiver to offset Maryland's penalty.
When the teams replayed the down, Smith was sacked for the first time since the last season's USF game. Tyler Bitancurt kicked a 37-yard field goal to regain the lead.
The teams traded three-and-outs but WVU picked up a first down on a second-and-13 with Smith's 19-yard pass to J.D. Woods and then a touchdown on Smith's 24-yard pass to an uncovered Austin. Maryland drove to the WVU 24, but Brad Craddock missed a 41-yard field goal.
Smith was 14-for-23 at the half for two scores and 203 yards, but had as many incomplete passes as he had the first two games combined. The Terrapins, who were averaging 258.3 yards of offense per game, had 212 at the half and converted on 5 of 9 third-downs, well above their 35-percent success rate the first three games.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.