MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- When the No. 6-ranked West Virginia University football team plays host to Maryland Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN, the Mountaineers will have two Youngstown-area players in the starting lineup.
Keilen Dykes (6-5, 295), a sophomore defensive tackle from Chaney High, and Mike Villagrana (6-4, 250), a junior tight end from Boardman High, will be trying to help West Virginia to stay unbeaten as the Mountaineers entertain thoughts of a possible national championship this season.
In addition, Eric Rodemoyer (6-3, 280), a freshman offensive lineman from Sharon High, is working his way into the two-deep rotation and may see some playing time.
Last year, West Virginia defeated Maryland, 31-19, on the Terps' field and went on to tie a school record for most wins in one season with an 11-1 mark under coach Rich Rodriguez, including a 38-35 win over Georgia in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. The Mountaineers' previous 11-win seasons were in 1988 and 1993.
Three straight league titles
WVU also went 7-0 in the Big East Conference to win its third straight league championship under Rodriguez, who is in his sixth year at the helm. Rodriguez entered this season with a 39-22 record at WVU, and an 84-58-2 overall mark.
The Mountaineers opened the season with a 42-10 win over Marshall on Sept. 2 to give Rodriguez his 40th win.
Dykes, in his third season a starter, led the team last year in tackles for losses with eight for 29 yards, and sacks with four for 24 yards. He had 29 tackles in all, 13 of them solo stops.
As a redshirt freshman in 2004, he had 37 tackles, including six for losses.
The son of Jewell and James Dykes, Keilen is majoring in athletic coaching education.
While at Chaney, Dykes registered 75 tackles and 9.5 sacks as a senior under coach Ron Berdis, and made all-Ohio, all-NEO and all-City, and was named Vindicator City Defensive Player of the Year.
Villagrana is blocker
Villagrana, a converted defensive lineman, is in his second season as WVU's starting tight end after seeing considerable playing time in 2004 as a redshirt freshman.
Utilized mainly as a blocker, Villagrana made one catch last year for 2 yards and a TD against Virginia Tech in a 34-17 loss. He suffered a foot sprain in a 45-13 win over Cincinnati.
The son of Laurie Villagrana, Mike is majoring in athletic coaching education.
While a defensive end at Boardman High under coach Garry Smith, Villagrana made second-team all-Ohio and the all-NEO team and was the Spartans' defensive MVP with 11 sacks. He also was first-team all-Steel Valley Conference as a junior and senior.
McGlynn, Phillips at Pitt
PITTSBURGH -- The University of Pittsburgh football team has two starters from the Youngstown area this season -- Mike McGlynn (6-5, 315), a junior offensive right tackle from Austintown Fitch; and Mike Phillips (5-11, 200), a junior safety from Warren Harding.
The Panthers are 2-0 under coach Dave Wannstedt, and will play host to Michigan State next Saturday at noon at Heinz Field on ABC-TV.
Also with Pitt is assistant coach Matt Cavanaugh, a former Panthers' quarterback from Chaney High who serves as offensive coordinator and coaches quarterbacks.
McGlynn is in his third year as a starter and entered the season with 19 consecutive starts. He also is in his third year as Pitt's long snapper for field goals and extra points.
The son of Michael and Terry McGlynn, Mike is majoring in the administration of justice.
While at Fitch under coach Carl Pelini, McGlynn played in only four games as a senior because of a fractured fibula. He was rated as one of the nation's top 50 offensive guard prospects by Rivals.com
Phillips recovers from injury
Phillips also is in his third year as a starter after bouncing back from an injury last season to regain his starting spot at strong safety. He started the first three games last year and then suffered a broken ankle in the third game against Nebraska to end his season.
He also was a regular at cornerback as a redshirt freshman.
Philips had 19 tackles in the three games last year, including a career-high 10 stops against Notre Dame and seven tackles versus Ohio University.
In 2004 at cornerback, he came up with 30 tackles and two interceptions and successfully defended against 11 passes.
The son of Richard and Pearlie Phillips, Mike is majoring in communications and rhetoric.
While at Harding, Phillips was first-team all-Ohio under coach Thom McDaniels.