MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Dana Holgorsen encounters his first road game as a head coach Saturday at Maryland, but he already knows what No. 18 West Virginia must do.
"We've got to try to score fast," the Mountaineers coach said. "They'll be rowdy and they have a good crowd. It's a tough place to play. It's hard to get the home crowd out of it. Starting fast is about the only chance you've got."
WVU (2-0) has had trouble with that so far this season. Two of the teams' four punts, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs have come in the first quarter. The Mountaineers have scored none of their 10 touchdowns in the first quarter and have been outscored 10-3 overall.
"I don't know what the yardage is," Holgorsen said, "but I'm sure we're getting slaughtered on it."
The opponent leads there, too, 229-109, and has an edge in time of possession at 17:22-12:38. Maryland (1-0) plays host to the Mountaineers at noon on ESPNU from Byrd Stadium. The Terrapins led Miami 7-0 after one quarter of their season opener.
"I might have to do a little better job of that as far as getting plays that will be positive, plays that put the ball in play and that sort of thing," Holgorsen said. "I don't know. Maybe I didn't do a very good job calling plays the last few weeks."
The Mountaineers ran just 11 plays in last week's first quarter and 18 against Marshall. Quarterback Geno Smith is 9-for-15 for 77 yards with a long gain of 28 yards. Fourteen runs have totaled 32 yards with a long of 9 yards.
Holgorsen and his staff said they've made no adjustments after the first quarter and at halftime. They have instead called the same plays and simply seen better results. Those same plays have worked the rest of the way for 86 points and 715 yards.
"Part of that has to do with you never really know what they're going to do anyway," Holgorsen said of the opposing defense. "That's part of it. I've been in charge of offenses that started really fast and I've been in charge of offenses that started really slow. If I had a magic formula, we'd always start fast. We work real hard at it. We talk about it and try to prepare them as well as we can."
The Mountaineers can't guarantee a fast start, but there are ways to manufacture one. They don't take a strict script into a game and run through the plays in order, but they do have an idea of what the opponent will do and what WVU can run against that with success. They focus on a handful of plays at the beginning and only the ones they trust most.