WVU's Smith makes final homestand
By John Harris
Published: Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
His final home game Saturday against Kansas signals a time of reflection for West Virginia senior quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith, WVU's career passing leader in nearly every major category and a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy early this season, took a step back during the Mountaineers' five-game losing streak, longest at the school since 1986.
It was during the lowest stretch of his college career that Smith located his inner self and rediscovered the form that could make him the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“It's extremely important for the psyche of this team, for the future of this program, to erase the thought of a five-game losing streak from our minds and focus on the positives,” Smith said. “I want to be part of that group of seniors that led us in the right direction.
“It's kind of been a disappointment for me this season. I wish I could have done better. But overall I'm blessed to be in this position. I appreciate being on this team.”
It's anyone's guess where WVU (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) would be without Smith this season.
“If Geno wants to play in the NFL, this is the type of thing he's going to have to go through, and he understands this. You're going to have to play at the top of your ability,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He's as good as anybody in college football.”
Smith has completed 327 of 466 passes (70.2 percent) for 3,597 yards and 37 touchdowns this season. He needs 403 yards to reach 4,000 passing yards for the second consecutive year for the bowl-eligible Mountaineers.
Against Baylor, Smith was 45 of 51 for 656 yards and eight TDs — both school records — and finished with the best completion mark in an NCAA game since 2000 (88.2).
Among NCAA active career leaders, Smith is No. 4 in passing yards (11,054), touchdown passes (93), attempts (1,413) and completions (946), No. 5 in total offense (11,395 yards) and No. 6 in passing efficiency (151.55).
Despite those gaudy numbers, Smith believes his greatest improvement has been his ability shrug off tough losses and rally his teammates.
“We have some guys playing in spots they haven't been before. It's our job to lead those guys. It's a positive sign that we continue to fight and not hang our heads,” said Smith.
“The biggest difference I see is that when you're down — especially at the position of quarterback — it's more about putting it on myself. I can't go up to a linebacker or tell a safety, ‘We need seven points.' The ball is in my hands.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- West Virginia women fall to Baylor in Big 12 championship game
- College basketball notebook: WVU’s Staten, Iowa State’s Kane named 1st-team all-Big 12
- Ex-PSU coach Bradley joins WVU staff
- Mountaineers earn share of Big 12 crown