Geno Smith has huge day for West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith picks up yardage against the Clemson Tigers...

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith picks up yardage against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., Jan. 4, 2012. (ANDREW INNERARITY/Reuters)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:01 AM ET

Geno Smith is pretty darn good.

The West Virginia Mountaineers defence? Not so much.

In a game that went exactly by the script, the Mountaineers made their Big 12 debut with a scintillating offensive performance ... and then some.

And the defence gave up a truckload of points ... and then some.

Outlasting the No. 25 Baylor Bears 70-63, the Mountaineers sent the Morgantown fans home happy — for now.

Consider the gaudy Tecmo Bowl-type numbers.

First of all, Smith threw six incompletions. The wind must have picked up out of nowhere on those throws, because Geno the Great was pinpoint all day long, finishing 45-of-51.

The Florida native put up 656 yards through the air and eight TDs. That’s not a typo. Eight!

The Big 12 receiving record also fell twice on the day, as WVU wideout Stedman Bailey put up 303 yards and five touchdowns, but Bears receiver Terrance Williams one-upped Smith’s high school teammate minutes later, piling up 314 yards receiving.

The Geno Smith Bandwagon is now officially full.But that wagon has a winding path to navigate before anyone anoints the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder as the Heisman victor and Smith knows it.

“Statistically, it’s my best game ever,” Smith said. “But I think it’s more about the team, and I think it just lets us know that we’re going to have to battle it out every week against some really tough teams in the Big 12.

“I could care less about a Heisman Trophy. The big thing for us was that we won the game today. We’re on a mission, and we want to win them all.”

The soon-to-be 22-year-old is just now starting the make-or-break portion of the sked, both for his Heisman candidacy and the No. 9-ranked Mountaineers’ BCS chances.

Next week, the Mountaineers head to Austin to take on the rejuvenated Texas Longhorns (Oct. 6, Fox, 5 p.m. MT). It’s likely the best defence they’ll see all season.

After another Texas stop in Week 7 against Texas Tech, Smith and the Mountaineers will run the gauntlet of Big 12 powerhouses with home games against Kansas State and TCU, followed by a roadie to take on Oklahoma State, and then back home to host the Oklahoma Sooners.

When BCS decision time rolls around, there’ll be no question whether or not the Mountaineers are for real. They’ll prove it either way on the field over the next two months.

SHORT YARDAGE

Penn State exacted a bit of revenge on Illinois Saturday. The revenge factor had nothing to do with anything that happened on the gridiron — it was about recruiting. When the NCAA handed down sanctions on the Nittany Lions and allowed players to transfer without having to sit out a year, Illinois was one of the teams who heavily recruited Penn State players, going as far as to have coaches set up shop just off campus and talk to players. Only one player transferred to the Big 10 rival. The 35-7 win for Bill O’Brien & Co. must have been that much sweeter ... Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M are looking more comfortable in the SEC with each passing week. Granted, it was the lowly Arkansas Razorbacks they took down 58-10 this week, but there’s no doubt the Aggies aren’t in over their heads in college football’s best conference ... Say what you want about the state of the Miami Hurricanes, but The U definitely has some athletes. The ’Canes rode receivers Philip Dorsett (seven catches, 191 yards, two TDs) and Rashawn Scott (six catches, 180 yards, two TDs) to a second-straight exciting win, this time a 44-37 last-minute barnburner over North Carolina State.

FINAL DRIVE

The final total on the Baylor-West Virginia clash of 83 is the highest ever recorded. It should have been higher, though. Since 2007, there have been five Vegas totals in the 80s and this one was warranted ... The Big 10 is simply ugly these days. Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes did enough to get past Michigan State 17-16, but it’s definitely a down cycle for the conference when you stack it up nationally ... You know what else is ugly? The Georgia Bulldogs defence through the first five weeks. The ’Dawgs escaped with a 51-44 win, but they’ll need to stop somebody to be considered a serious national title contender. However, Bulldogs freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley (24 carries for 130 yards and three scores) and Keith Marshall (10 carries for 164 yards and two TDs) are a scary combo.


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