By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Eighth-ranked West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey is grateful for the opportunity to play college football with quarterback Geno Smith.
It is a most successful extension to the fond relationship the two had at Miramar High School in Miami, Fla.
“We’re old buddies,” said the 5-foot-10, 195-pound junior. “It was fun playing with Geno back home and also is fun playing with him here.
“I think we’re doing a better job as a team.”
He’s expecting Maryland (2-1) to be stronger than either Marshall or James Madison was.
The Mountaineers (2-0) are heavily favored in Saturday’s noon meeting here.
Bailey said he took advantage of his redshirted freshman year. That’s why he is a year behind Smith, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior.
Bailey caught nine passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns against Marshall.
Then he had 13 receptions for 173 yards and three scores against James Madison. Those are career highs.
Bailey is ranked No. 3 on WVU’s touchdown reception list (21) and he’s tied for No. 1 in 100-yard receiving games with nine. He is No. 1 nationally in receiving yards per game (138.5) and receptions per game (11.0). He’s tied for No. 2 in scoring (5.6) and 19th in all-purpose yards (156.5).
Of course, Smith has been putting up even more impressive numbers in passing.
He’s No. 1 on the all-time WVU career passing chart (8,191 yards) and No. 2 in career total offense (8,465) all-time.
He’s the school’s career completions leader (685) and passing touchdowns (65). Smith is No. 1 nationally in points responsible for (300), and he’s No. 2 in passing efficiency (209.81).
He also is No. 2 in the country in total offense (408.5). He is No. 5 in passing yards per game (367.0).
He’s No. 4 in completions per game (33.0).
WVU receiver Tavon Austin, last year’s all-purpose yards leader in the nation, is No. 2 on WVU’s all-time receptions list (195) and he’s No. 4 in career yards (2,290).
Austin also is No. 4 in WVU career all-purpose yards (4,684). He’s tied for that same position in touchdown receptions.
Smith, Bailey, and Austin have to be the top trio in West Virginia’s explosive offense.
All three are among the Big 12 Heisman Trophy candidate list.