Geno Smith Reaches For The Record Books!
The #9 West Virginia Mountaineers opened up Big 12 Conference play by welcoming the #25 Baylor Bears to Morgantown. The Mountaineers have National Championship aspirations and after beating up on Marshall, James Madison and Maryland to open the season their team finally faced the caliber of talent that lies ahead. Baylor is one of the highest scoring teams in all of college football, ranking 5th and averaging 51 points a game entering this matchup. West Virginia was ranked 10th averaging over 47 points a game. Both teams had a top 5 passing attack in the nation and those facts should have been good indicators for a shootout, but not what we witnessed Saturday.
These high flying offenses came started their first drives with an interception thrown by Baylor’s QB Nick Florence and a drive that led to a missed 50 yard field goal by West Virginia Kicker Tyler Bitancurt. Both teams would then score touchdowns on their next two drives and it was 14 all at the end of the first quarter. Each team would add three more touchdowns in the 2nd quarter and the two teams were tied at 35 going into halftime. West Virginia would score in their first three possessions of the 2nd half while Baylor went three and out and missed a 46 yard field goal. The Mountaineers were up 35-56 but Bears QB Nick Florence wasn’t going to give up that easily. Baylor would battle back and make it a 7 point game twice in the 4th quarter but Mountaineers QB Geno Smith always had an answer.
The game would eventually end 63-70 in favor of West Virginia, it was the highest scoring game in Big 12 history and set record numbers when the teams combined for 67 first downs and 1507 yards of total offense. Nick Florence would break Robert Griffin III’s single game record by throwing for 581 yards, going 29-47 with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. Baylor WR Terrance Williams had 17 receptions, 2 for TDs, with a record 314 yards, breaking the mark a Mountaineer WR set earlier in the game. Two other Baylor WRs had 4 receptions and 109+ yards with a TD, but this was game was about Geno Smith.
Smith catapulted himself as becoming the clear front-runner for the 2012 Heisman Trophy after exploding for 656 passing yards and 8 TDs while throwing just 6 incomplete passes. The kid threw for more touchdowns than he did incomplete passes. He had his three main targets and he hit them, time and time again. Steadman Bailey had set a record with his 13 receptions for 303 yards (later broken by Williams) and 5 TD catches, including an 87 yarder. WR Tavon Austin led the team with 14 receptions and had 215 yards and 2 TD catches. J.D. Woods had 13 catches for 114 yards and a TD, while the other three players to register a reception had a combined 24 yards on 5 catches. When Smith was finished he had set single-game school records for completions, yards and TD passes and the team’s offense set a record with their 807 yards.
Smith has yet to throw an interception this season and when you compare his first 4 games to the run RGIII went on last season, Smith’s season is better. His team is 4-0 compared to 3-1 while Smith has accumulated 345 more total yards, completed 83.4% of his passes, 1.3 better than Griffin and has 2 more TD passes. Geno Smith may be the new favorite for the Heisman trophy and that is an individual achievement that he may get without any defense. The Mountaineers dream of making it to a National Championship game however will rely on the West Virginia defense getting their act together, if they have the players to do so. Whether they get it together on the defensive side of the ball or not, Geno Smith and this offense will be a treat to watch regardless.