Monday, September 3, 2012
Player of the Week: Big 12
By David Ubben
This isn't a game ball or a helmet sticker. This isn't a mention in the weekend rewind.
This space is reserved for the single best player in the Big 12 this week.
In Week 1, that goes to Geno Smith. He was picked as the league's preseason Offensive Player of the Year before he'd even played a snap in the league, but took a major step toward proving himself in his new league on Saturday.
The Mountaineers rolled easily in their 69-34 win over Marshall, earning a nod as the only team to score 60 points against an FBS opponent in Week 1.
Smith had plenty of help -- especially on his first of four touchdown passes. Stedman Bailey elevated and grabbed the 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone over a defender, but Smith was still the key for the Mountaineers.
He finished 32-of-36 for 323 yards and four touchdowns, adding 65 yards rushing. That included a 28-yard touchdown run on a busted running play that should have gone for a loss when Smith turned the wrong way on a handoff.
In the process, Smith became the school's all-time leader in completions and touchdown passes, and if he keeps it up, he'll earn a much bigger spot in West Virginia's history.
How's the man who led the Mountaineers to a Big 12 title in their first year in the league sound? West Virginia's got a long way to go to make that happen, but it looked the most impressive of any Big 12 team in Week 1.
The offensive line, receivers and 123 yards from bruising back Shawne Alston helped, but the Big 12's best player in Week 1 is very clear.