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September 18, 2010

Smith credits Mullen; sees more balanced offense

MORGANTOWN-Geno Smith congratulated his coach and classmate for WVU's convincing 31-14 victory over Maryland Saturday. He also signaled something of a changing-of-the-guard in Mountaineer offensive plans.

"I think that we had a really good game plan coming into this game. Coach (Jeff) Mullen was calling really good plays in great situations and we were catching them off guard. I also made some checks here and there according to what the defense was giving me and it paid off for us," said Smith, who helped run 21st West Virginia's record to 3-0.

Smith, the hero of the Marshall victory in Huntington, completed 19 of 29 passes for 268 yards and four touchdowns. Two of the scoring sorties went to Baltimore native Tavon Austin and a pair went to redshirt freshman Stedman Bailey. Bailey and Smith graduated from Miramar (Fla.) High School in 2009.

"It was great to get Stedman the first two touchdowns of his career. I'm just going out there and reading the defenses and taking what they are giving me," said Smith

Smith fired touchdown passes to Austin of five of six yards for 14-0 lead with 8:09 remaining in the first quarter. The second two went to Bailey, a 5-foot-10, 195 pounder. Those throws were good for 26 and 5 yards.

When the team of Smith-Bailey was done, the score was 28-0 with 12:22 showing in the third quarter.

"They were great catches on (Bailey's) part. One throw was just a terrible throw by me. He was wide open but he bailed me out and the one in the back of the end zone was just a great catch on his part. He has great hands and he catches everything. He's not the fastest guy or the biggest guy but he's sound in everything that he does and that's what makes him a great receiver," said Smith.

Smith was sacked twice by Maryland rushers. He was dropped three times behind the line last week against Marshall.

"I think our offensive lineman have done well all season. We've pretty much only given up a couple of sacks and that's great for an offensive line since we've already played three games. I hope they continue to play the way they do because if they do we'll be unstoppable," said Smith.

With Smith attempting 29 passes on the day and the team running it 55 times, Smith said he is seeing more balance from this offense. Two-hundred-sixty-eight of WVU's overall 469 yards came through the air.

"A couple of years ago, we were a run-based offense and spread option team but now we're developing a great passing game and I think it's going to make it difficult for defensive coordinators to game plan against us," Smith said.

******
NOTE--Stewart met with offensive guard Eric Jobe, wide receiver Austin, fullback Ryan Clarke, and tackle Jeff Braun Friday night. Along with injured Pat Lazear and true freshman Troy Gloster, Jobe, Austin, Clarke and Braun are the Maryland residents on the WVU team.

"We all put our hands together and I told those guys, 'You don't have to be 'Supermen,' you just need to play," said the coach.

Austin finished with seven receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned four kicks for 57 yards. Jobe started at right guard and also was plugged into left guard when Josh Jenkins left the first half with an unspecified injury. Braun started at right tackle. Clarke rushed 15 times for 65 yards (4.3)


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