West Virginia University Senior QB Geno Smith can still win the Heisman.
Yes, you read that right. According to ESPN, Smith is still number 6 in the Heisman race.
Only a few short weeks ago, he was an “automatic” winner, according to some analysts. In fact, after the Texas Longhorns game, I specifically recall one analyst saying he should be given the trophy during that post-game. Everyone was talking about the ridiculous video game type numbers he was putting up, saying if he avoided bad games, he would easily take home the Heisman.
Then, disaster struck. The Mountaineers took a routine trip to Lubbock, Texas for a trap game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Not only did the Mountaineers lose, but the Red Raiders made Geno look silly.
He missed open receivers, threw into double coverage and really didn’t look at all like Geno Smith, Heisman contender. TTU did a great job of disguising coverage and throwing packages at Smith that he wasn’t used to seeing. A lot of people credit the wind in Lubbock for influencing Smith’s passes. Smith was facing wind gusts of up to 25 mph.
Following what everyone considered to be a fluke loss in Lubbock (even the BCS over ranked the Mountaineers in my opinion, placing them 13th in the BCS poll), the Mountaineers realized they really weren’t in that bad of shape. Ranked 13th in the BCS, and 17th in the AP poll, the Mountaineers knew with a win against the Kansas State Wildcats, they could be about where they were before the TTU loss, and Smith still had a relatively good shot at winning the Heisman.
Then, disaster struck again. The Mountaineers brought in KSU in front of a sold out crowd in Morgantown. Long story short, the Wildcats had their way with WVU. The offense struggled to put up only 14 points, and Smith only threw for 1 TD pass.
Suddenly, the wind in Lubbock didn’t look like such a strong defense for Smith’s struggles. Could it be that Smith had run into real defense?
I’ll go out on a limb here, make a bold prediction. Geno Smith will win the Heisman. I said it. Here’s why:
1. Geno Smith’s Stats
I’m still convinced the loss at Texas Tech was a fluke. Wind or no wind, Smith made some poor decisions. He didn’t get the job done. He simply had a bad game. Smith went 25-55 for 279 yards and a TD, 0 INTS.
Then, he played KSU, a top 5 team with a great defense. One would expect a tougher challenge when facing a team of this caliber. He threw 21-32 for 132 yards and a TD and threw 2 INTS. Smith threw his first interception in 273 attempts in this game, setting the single season NCAA record for passes attempted without an interception.
Just for fun, let’s take a look back at Smith’s stats for the first 6 games of the season.
Against Marshall in the season opener, Smith went 32-36 for 323 yards and 4 TDs.
Then, he traveled to JMU and went 34-39 for 411 yards and 5 TDs.
Next, he faced Maryland, the toughest defense he’d faced at that point in the season, and went 30-43 for 338 yards and 3 TDs.
Then, in the Baylor game, against a top 25 team, Smith went 45-51 for 656 yards and 8 TDs.
Then, he took his talents to Austin to drop 4 TDs on the Longhorns, going 25-35 for 268 yards, against one of the top defenses in the Big 12.
That gives Smith a stat line that looks like this before playing Texas Tech:
166-204 for 1,996 yards and 24 TDs, 0 INTS.
Add in the TTU and KSU games and it looks like this:
212-291 for 2,407 and 26 TDs, 2 INTS.
These are still pretty good stats.
2. Smith’s Intangibles
Stats aside, Smith has shown all sorts of playmaking ability and sheer determination.
Playing against UT in Austin, Smith had all the reasons to become nervous, rattled, and throw the game away, but no matter what came his way, he took it and went back to work. This is what makes Smith such a great player.
The point I’m making here is that Smith had one bad game against TTU. Then, he had to face a team that could potentially be one of the only teams capable of beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship. Had the Mountaineers not lost to TTU, and only lost to top 5 KSU, I don’t think many people would doubt Smith’s chances, but because Smith had two bad games in a row, people are forgetting how good he really is. Smith will return to form this week against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs and, I think, reinsert himself back into the Hesiman race.
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