Mountaineers will go as far as Geno takes them
Published: Sunday, September 18, 2011
Updated: Sunday, September 18, 2011 22:09
It wasn't hard to spot the best player on the field in West Virginia's 37-31 victory over Maryland.
Don't get me wrong, there were a number of players who did really well Saturday.
Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien and running back Davin Meggett were all huge when the Terrapins tried to mount an amazing comeback.
Junior Tavon Austin, redshirt sophomore Stedman Bailey and sophomore Ivan McCartney all did a fantastic job catching the football for WVU.
But the one who really stood out was West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.
In the first half of Saturday's game, Smith put on a display that hasn't been seen much from a Mountaineer quarterback.
His 48 passes were the most of any WVU quarterback since Brad Lewis threw 52 against Maryland in 2001 and his 388 yards went down as the sixth-most in a single game in school history.
When the Mountaineers put up 27 points in the first half, it was Smith leading the way. The junior signal caller continuously made great passes, hitting receivers with incredible ease multiple times over the course of those first two quarters.
At one point, he threw a pass into double coverage down the field. Smith dropped it perfectly into McCartney's hands, a pass that not many quarterbacks would have been able to complete.
He cooled off in the second half with several mediocre throws. But if the quarterback continues to play this well, WVU is going to be very hard for anyone to beat.
The way he's stepped in and adapted to head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense has been amazing. He's caught on quickly and has been about as good as anybody would have expected him to be – if not better.
Will they beat LSU next week? I don't know.
Will they have a better chance with Smith playing as well as he has so far this season? Without a doubt.
This is the first time since the Pat White era that West Virginia fans should truly feel like they have a great chance to win every single game they play.
It's a combination of Smith being as good as he is and this offensive scheme being as good as it is.
Every time Smith steps on the field, he leads this team the way every team should want a quarterback to lead. He fires up his teammates and he's outstanding at running the WVU offense at the pace Holgorsen wants it to be run.
If Smith and the Mountaineers play the way they did this weekend – and not let up like they did in the second half against the Terrapins – there shouldn't be much trouble throughout the Big East Conference schedule.
But that's something that is amazing about this offense. So much of it relies on how well Smith is able to carry the team.
And if Saturday's first half and the second half of the Mountaineers' victory over Norfolk State are any indication, Smith will be just fine carrying this team wherever it wants to go.
Obviously this week's game against No. 2 LSU will be the biggest indicator of how ready this team is to go up against the nation's elite.
It's the perfect test to see how good Smith is when his team needs him the most.
And it's a test I don't expect him to fail.