Smith's perfection is at stake
By John Harris
Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
If left to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, he'll keep his streak of 259 pass attempts without an interception intact Saturday against Texas Tech at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.
Smith needs 68 attempts without an interception to surpass the Football Championship Subdivision record set by Fresno State quarterback Trent Dilfer, who threw 271 passes without an interception in 1993. Russell Wilson holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record with 379 passes without an interception while at N.C. State (2008-09).
“One thing about Geno, he's very decisive,'' said Dilfer, who completed 254 of 396 passes for 3,799 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions in his record-setting season.
“He pulls the trigger. Guys that pull the trigger without hesitation get the ball out quick and throw less interceptions.''
Now an ESPN analyst, Dilfer appreciates what Smith is accomplishing because of how difficult it was for him to avoid throwing interceptions when he set the record 19 years ago.
“I can think of three or four I bounced off defenders' chests,'' said Dilfer, a first-round pick by Tampa Bay who won Super Bowl XXXV with Baltimore. “It takes an enormous amount of luck because, when the ball's in the air, bad stuff can happen.''
Texas Tech leads the nation in pass defense and is No. 2 in total defense. The Red Raiders are allowing 117.4 passing yards per game. They have five interceptions while yielding four touchdown passes.
“We're not going to force the ball; we're not going to force the issue. We're going to take what you give us,'' said Smith, who has 24 touchdown passes with only 38 incompletions among his 204 pass attempts this season. “I'm a smart quarterback. I understand defenses.''
Smith leads the nation at 399.2 passing yards per game. He has averaged more than 40 attempts per game in the No. 5 Mountaineers' first five games.
“He spreads the ball around. He's got great touch on the ball,'' Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “He's got a knack for sitting in the pocket. He'll take a sack. He's not going to turn the ball over.''
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen cited “a combination of things” contributing to Smith's streak, but he mostly credited his quarterback.
“That's what good players do,'' he said. “They do a good job taking care of the ball.”
Smith's streak began in the fourth quarter of WVU's game at South Florida on Dec. 1, 2011. Following an interception that was returned for a touchdown, Smith completed eight of his next 12 passes and guided the Mountaineers to a 30-27 win on Tyler Bitancurt's 28-yard field goal on the final play.
In WVU's next game against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Smith completed 32 of 43 passes for 407 yards and six touchdowns in a 70-33 victory.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.