The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 12, 2013

Geno ranks No. 1 among WVU passers

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University has had numerous outstanding quarterbacks in its football history.

But Geno Smith, the starting signal caller in the last three years, clearly established himself — in my opinion — as No. 1 among the other Mountaineer greats.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Miami native is the career leader in every category as a passer. Playing in 44 games, he completed 988 passes in 1,465 attempts (67.4 percent) for 11,662 yards and 98 touchdowns. He was intercepted 21 times.

Smith’s longest completion covered 87 yards as a senior in 2012. Two other long ones were for 84 and 71 yards.

Granted, Smith’s rushing statistics aren’t nearly so impressive. He was a master with mostly his strong, accurate arm and generally he hustles with his feet to avoid sacking.

In rushing, he had just 245 attempts, gained 342 yards (1.4 yards per game) and scored four touchdowns. His longest yearly runs were 13, 29, 20 and 28 yards.

Geno, who guided WVU to a 26-13 record in 39 starts, was a finalist for two highly prestigious national awards and was a semifinalist for two others.

He set 33 West Virginia game, season, class and career records. He also owns six Mountaineer/Milan Puskar Stadium marks.

Smith, who is graduating with honors this spring, was named Big 12 Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. And he made the league’s all-conference second-team as selected separately by the coaches and The Associated Press.

Since 2010, he threw for at least one touchdown in all but three games. Before an interception to open the third quarter vs. Kansas State last fall, Smith had set the NCAA season record for the most pass attempts without an interception at 272.

He threw three or more TDs in six consecutive contests and hit 48 touchdown tosses in his final 14 games in a row.

Now are you ready for some solid passing comparisons between Geno Smith and some of WVU’s earlier all-time great passers? Here’s a look at a few:

-- Smith passed himself and Marc Bulger (31) and set WVU’s single-season touchdown record with four against Oklahoma; record stands at 42.

-- Passed Pat White (10,529) and set WVU’s total offense record with 363 yards at Oklahoma State; record stands at 12,004.

-- Passed Bulger (8,153 yards) and set WVU’s career passing record with 411-yard performance in James Madison University win; record stands at 11,662 yards.

-- Passed Bulger (1,023) and set WVU’s career pass attempts record with 43 attempts in Maryland win; record stands at 4,165.

In the meantime, Smith matched the nation’s best passing completion percentage mark since 2000 with a 95.8 showing in Kansas victory.

Geno, who hopes to be selected in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft, owns the nation’s best passing completion percentage mark since 2000, with an 88.2 showing in the win over Baylor.

There’s much more in the lengthy list of Smith’s amazing achievements.

But I’ve run out of space to include those at this time.

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