By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Geno Smith of West Virginia (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) is looking forward to his matchup with Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones tonight.
A capacity crowd of about 60,000 is expected. The Big 12 contest will start at 7 p.m. The Sooners (7-2, 5-1) are favored by 10 1/2 points. The action will be nationally televised by FOX.
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior, said he has followed Jones’ career and cherishes this opportunity to compete against him.
“Landry is a guy who has done a great job since he took over from Sam Bradford,” the Mountaineer star said. “He could’ve entered the (NFL) draft and have been one of the higher picks.
“But he chose to stay with his teammates, and I respect him for that. He’s a great quarterback. And he’s done some really good things for his team last season and this season.
“I just look forward to go out there and compete, and show improvement myself.”
Smith, who ranks No. 2 in the conference, has completed 285 of 400 passes for 3,041 yards and 31 touchdowns this year. He has three interceptions.
Jones, No. 4 among league passers, has connected on 226 of 345 passes for 2,691 yards and 18 TDs. He has been intercepted seven times.
Tavon Austin of WVU is the top receiver in the Big 12 with 96 catches, 968 yards and 11 touchdowns. Teammate Stedman Bailey is third at 75-1,055-16.
Kenny Stills of Oklahoma leads the Sooners with 45 catches, 682 yards and six scores.
OU’s Damien Williams is the conference’s third-best rusher with 113 carries for 687 yards and nine TDs. WVU sophomore Andrew Buie stands sixth with 646 yards and five touchdowns on 140 rushes.
Austin remains No. 1 in all-purpose yards with 1,740. His average is 193.3 yards per game.
Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s second-year head coach, said, “Oklahoma is going to be a tremendous challenge. They are very sound and very physical.”
Bob Stoops is in his 14th year as the head coach at Oklahoma. His record there is 147-35, but he’s 0-1 against West Virginia.
Offensively, West Virginia shows a slight edge in most of the statistics:
Points for nine games total 360 to Oklahoma’s 358; first downs 227 to 230; total offense average per game is 480.2 to 485.6; net rushing per game 132.7 to 176.0; and net passing per game 347.6 to 309.6.
Defensively, the Mountaineers trail OU in most major stats:
Average points given up by WVU 41.4 per game to 19.6; first downs 209 to 156; total defense per game average 479.8 to 325.2; net rushing yards per game 134.6 to 155.0: and net passing per game 345.2 to 170.2.
WVU has seven interceptions to OU’s nine, and fumbles/recoveries is 14/7 to 6/2.