Friday, February 22, 2013
The best individual games of 2012: No. 2
By David Ubben
We're counting down the 10 best individual games for any Big 12 player in 2012. Bowl games and nonconference play count, but these are the performances that topped them all at the end of the season.
We'll reveal the No. 1 performance on Monday.
No. 2: West Virginia QB Geno Smith vs. Baylor
Date: Sept. 29, 2012
Why it's on the list: Sometimes, a stat line doesn't tell the whole story. In this case, though, it's really all you need to know. I don't care what kind of defense was being played on the other side of the ball. Geno Smith turned in a virtuoso performance in West Virginia's 70-63 win over Baylor in a game between two ranked teams. He was the best of a handful of great performances on that day, completing 45-of-51 passes (88.2 percent) for 656 yards and eight touchdown passes without an interception.
I'd kindly ask you to read that stat line over once more. We've seen a lot of great games from quarterbacks in this league, but Smith is up there with the best of them. Baylor rarely blitzed, leaving him facing a three-man rush for much of the game, daring him to pick apart eight men in coverage. He did it. Over and over again, he did it. The Bears looked helpless and every toss from Smith seemed like it was on the money. Short throws, intermediate throws, bombs to Stedman Bailey, who caught five of Smith's eight scores. It was all working. If you're throwing two more touchdown passes than incompletions and you threw the ball 51 times, that's a pretty good day. The game set a Big 12 record for points scored, but Smith's entire stat line rewrote the school record book, as did his streak of 14 consecutive completions during the game. No quarterback had a better day this season than Smith in West Virginia's first Big 12 game ever, one that the Mountaineers won't ever forget.
The rest of the list: