Geno Smith’s eight touchdown passes lift West Virginia over Baylor
Morgantown, WV, United States (4E Sports) – Quarterback Geno Smith tallied 656 passing yards and a record eight touchdowns to lead ninth-ranked West Virginia to a wild 70-63 win over 25th-ranked Baylor in a Big 12 showdown Saturday at Mountaineer Field.
Smith completed 45 of 51 passes and his 39-yard touchdown heave to wide receiver Stedman Bailey with less than six minutes in the game sealed the Mountaineers’ fourth win in as many outings.
“I thought Geno was exceptional, which he has been for the past few years,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “Today he certainly earned his cause for postseason awards.”
The two teams combined for 1,507 total yards – 807 on 88 plays from West Virginia (4-0) and 700 on 92 plays from the Bears (3-1). The combined 1,237 passing yards from Smith and Baylor quarterback Nick Florence, who passed for 581 yards and five touchdowns, were 16 shy of an NCAA record.
There were 19 combined touchdowns, and of those scoring drives, 16 were accomplished in less than three minutes.
“Not every Big 12 game is like this,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “Not every Big 12 offense is like this and not every game is going to be like this. It was a situation where both offenses were playing at a pretty high level.”
It was the first time in Holgorsen’s coaching career that his offense produced more than 800 yards and it was the third time, dating back to the Orange Bowl, that West Virginia has scored at least 10 touchdowns in a game.
“Both offenses played well, but to say that the defenses didn’t play well is an understatement,” admitted Holgorsen. “We have to keep improving on what we’re doing. We have eight more conference games; we have to continue to do what we’re doing and we have to get better.”
Bailey also had his share of the spotlight as he caught a school-record 303 yards receiving and five touchdowns from two, 47, 20, 87 and 39 yards.
Despite his performance, Bailey was outshone by Baylor’s Terrance Williams, who had 17 receptions for 314 yards and two touchdowns.
The first half ended in a 35-all deadlock, with Smith throwing four touchdown passes while Florence had two passing scores.
The Mountaineers, however, opened the third period with three straight touchdowns – two from Smith’s passes to senior wideout Tavon Austin, who finished with 215 yards on 14 receptions.
Sophomore running back Andrew Buie, who finished with 82 yards on 25 carries, scored his second touchdown of the game to give West Virginia a commanding 56-35 lead before Florence ended the third quarter with a touchdown pass to Williams.
Florence moved the Bears to within 49-56 with a short touchdown run but Smith answered with an 87-yard passing score to Bailey to extend the Mountaineers’ lead to two touchdowns.
Florence once again moved Baylor to within seven after a seven-yard touchdown pass to Antwan Goodley with 10 minutes left in the game. Smith, however, put the game out of reach with a touchdown pass to Bailey.
“We fought hard, but we didn’t respond well enough to win the game,” said Briles.