WVU football: Maryland wide receiver no longer 'out of place'
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Former West Virginia University football player Deon Long caught nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown for Maryland in the opener and has 15 receptions for 173 yards this season.
Long signed with the Mountaineers in 2009 and ended up at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy. He enrolled at WVU in January 2010, but said he was "feeling out of place socially" three months later and was granted his request to transfer.
WVU prohibited Long from transferring to many schools. The Mountaineers were in the Big East, so those schools were blocked. Long's coach at Hargrave was hired as an assistant at Texas Tech, so the Red Raiders were nixed as well. WVU also made Maryland off limits.
Maryland's sports information office isn't granting interview requests for Long or any player to out-of-town media this week.
Long transferred to New Mexico and sat out the 2010 season. He played in 2011 for Mike Locksley, who was the head coach and is now the Maryland offensive coordinator. Long tied for the Lobos lead with 47 receptions and led the team with 809 yards and four touchdowns.
He then transferred to Iowa Western Community College, where his quarterback was Kansas State's Jake Waters.
Long led all junior college players with 100 receptions, 1,625 yards and 25 touchdowns. No one had ever caught 100 passes in the history of the National Junior College Association of America. Iowa Western won the NJCAA national title and Long was a first-team all-American.
The Mountaineers, who struggled so mightily against the pass in 2012, are No. 8 nationally in pass defense this week. They're allowing 136.7 yards per game and gave up just 84 to Georgia State Saturday.
"Maryland brings a different test to us because they've got two wide outs that are just as good as anybody in the country," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said.
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WVU PLAYS MARYLAND at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU and goes to Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium looking to extend a seven-game win streak in the series.
The Terrapins are 3-0 for the first time since 2001 and had at least 500 yards of offense in each of their three games: against woeful Florida International, newly christened FBS program Old Dominion and UConn.
Maryland was the worst offensive team out of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in 2010 at 284.75 yards per game. The season-high yardage last season was 464 yards.
Quarterback C.J. Brown has passed for 200 or more yards and rushed for 100 or more yards in two victories. Receiver Stefon Diggs has back-to-back 100-yard receiving games after finishing with 98 yards against FIU. He has 16 receptions for 387 yards and three touchdowns.
WVU is 2-1 heading into its final non-conference regular season game this season.
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THE MOUNTAINEERS' Sept. 28 home game against preseason Big 12 favorite Oklahoma State (3-0) will have a noon kickoff, the conference announced Monday.
The game will be televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPNU. A decision will be made following this weekend's games.
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ENTERING THE SEASON, his first at WVU after spending four years at the University of Houston, running back Charles Sims had averaged 7.7 yards per touch and one touchdown every 14 touches.
After three games with the Mountaineers, Sims is averaging 6.1 yards per touch and has two touchdowns in 56 touches.
He's averaging 5.6 yards per carry after averaging 5.3, 7.0 and 6.2 his first three seasons and 12 yards per catch after averaging 10.8, 11.1 and 10.1. He's carried 52 times and caught four passes, easily the most touches on the team, but not quite enough for Holgorsen.
"We've got to keep trying to get him in position to make as many plays as we possibly can," Holgorsen said. "He's doing a good job running the ball, but we've got to get him going in the passing game a little bit more. We haven't had an opportunity to dump it down to him in the flat or get some screens, and that's stuff he's extremely capable of doing."
Sims has 293 yards rushing this season and 120- and 116-yard games against William & Mary and Georgia State. There were only seven 100-yard games in Holgorsen's first two seasons - three by Shawne Alston, two by Andrew Buie and one each by Tavon Austin and Dustin Garrison.
Alston and Buie both had two last season. WVU hasn't had a player with three 100-yard games in the same season since Noel Devine's four in the 2010 season.
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REDSHIRT FRESHMAN Ford Childress set the school's freshman passing record with 359 yards passing against Georgia State. It was the 19th-highest total in school history. Childress, Geno Smith, Marc Bulger, Chad Johnston, Mike Sherwood and Oliver Luck are the only other WVU quarterbacks to ever pass for 350 or more yards in a game.
Childress added three touchdown passes, which delivered him to a more exclusive group. Smith, Bulger and Johnston had at least 350 yards and three scores. Only Smith (seven) and Bulger (three) did it more than once.
Childress, who completed 25 of 41 pass attempts and had one interception, was named the Athlon Sports National Freshman of the Week.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.