Indeed, there are more than a few players - key players - who see this game as being every bit as big as bygone rivalries with Pitt or Virginia Tech or anyone else. There are 10 players from Maryland listed on West Virginia's roster, and half of them are starters on the depth chart - Tavon Austin, Jeff Braun, Terence Garvin, Josh Francis and Ryan Clarke.
Only Florida, with seven, has more players in starting roles.
"I'm really not a rah-rah guy. I'd rather just lay back and play my part,'' Austin said. "But at the end of the day, [playing Maryland] is a family thing for me. My cousin went to Maryland and I always talk to him about it. But he's on my side right now because I'm at West Virginia.''
Still, even if Austin isn't a rah-rah guy, this game is important, if not for him then for that family back home in Baltimore. Maryland, of course, recruited Austin, so there's a certain familiarity there that goes beyond just the home-state team. It's a matter of pride that Austin just isn't allowed to lose to Maryland.
"The one person who always told me that was my grandmother,'' Austin said. "She said, 'Tavon, whatever you do, do not lose to Maryland.' They came in our house [while recruiting him] and they talked to my grandmother and they told her they were going to beat West Virginia. She said you can't lose to Maryland.''
Well, so far so good for Austin. The teams have played twice in Austin's previous three seasons and the Mountaineers have won both. In fact, West Virginia hasn't lost to the Terps since doing so twice during the 2003 season, once in College Park and again in the Gator Bowl. That was the end of a four-game win streak for the Terps, which has now become a six-game win streak for WVU.
The teams are contracted to meet every year through 2017.
"This isn't the last time we're going to play. We're going to continue to play,'' Holgorsen said. "It's going to mean a lot to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. From a regional standpoint, it's very important.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.