MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Don't be surprised if the West Virginia defense is bleary-eyed and sluggish when the Mountaineers step on to the field Saturday to face Maryland.
All week, in film sessions and nightmares they've seen Stefon Diggs, a 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore receiver and a terror on the turf.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen called Diggs a "clone" of former Mountaineer offensive dynamo Tavon Austin, another shifty receiver with speed to burn. Austin was a first-round pick in the NFL draft this year.
"They're both from Baltimore and receivers and returners," Holgorsen said Tuesday. "[Diggs] has proven to have big-play potential. He's probably a little better at downfield play than Tavon."
In high school, Diggs was courted by West Virginia (2-1) and 32 other schools before committing to the hometown Terrapins (3-0). He blew past the Mountaineers for 113 yards and two touchdowns on three catches in West Virginia's 31-21 victory against Maryland last September in Morgantown.
Diggs finished his freshman season with 54 catches for 848 yards and six touchdowns and is on pace to eclipse those totals easily this fall. Through three games, Diggs has 387 receiving yards (sixth most in the country) and three touchdowns on 16 receptions -- 24.2 yards per catch.
Holgorsen admitted the West Virginia defense, ranked eighth in the country with 136.7 passing yards allowed per game, will be facing a passing attack unlike any it has seen this season.
"We haven't seen the throwing threat that we're going to see this week," Holgorsen said. "They've got big-play potential. This will be a different challenge for us. I'm excited to see how our guys react to it."
Jenkins leaves team
As if facing Diggs wasn't problem enough, the West Virginia defense will also be without redshirt senior Brodrick Jenkins who, Holgorsen reported, "is no longer with the team."
Holgorsen would not comment on the nature of Jenkins's departure. "It's internal," he said.
Jenkins, a backup cornerback, recorded no statistics this fall. He started seven games last season, registering 33 tackles and an interception. He has been replaced on the depth chart by redshirt sophomore Terrell Chestnut.
One last border-state rival
The game Saturday will mark the 50th meeting between the Terrapins and Mountaineers, and it is one rivalry game that won't be going anywhere, Holgorsen said.
"It's something our boys are looking forward to," he said. "We don't have many regional rivalries left -- this is the only one that we play this year. I look forward to meeting more in the future."
West Virginia's border state meetings with Penn State, Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech are few and far between nowadays. West Virginia and Virginia Tech will finally square off again in a home-and-home series starting in 2021.
Holgorsen mentioned on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday that West Virginia is talking to Penn State, Pitt and Virginia about resuming those matchups.
West Virginia holds a 26-21-2 advantage over Maryland and currently has a seven-game winning streak that spans the last decade.
The game Saturday will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens.
"Our guys get jacked up about that," Holgorsen said. "It's a big stage."
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.