Can anybody stop Geno Smith and West Virginia’s offense? The Mountaineers 48-45 win at Texas was big-time, and this forces the nation to take notice. They justifiably moved up to No. 5 in the AP poll with the win. They seem headed for a BCS bowl game for sure, and a berth in the national championship game isn’t unreasonable.
This was the team’s first road win, but it was a big one. The Longhorns were previously undefeated, and this game required some heart. The Mountaineers trailed at the half and going into the fourth quarter. Even more impressive in this game was the way West Virginia ran the ball.
Smith had a solid game with 268 yards and four touchdown passes, but Andrew Buie was a force on the ground. The sophomore rushed for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. A run/pass balance makes this deadly offense even more dangerous.
They haven’t proven they can stop teams consistently yet, but if they continue to score at this rate, they may not see a team that can keep pace or slow them down in their pursuit of the crystal football.
Here are two other teams that enjoyed statement victories on Saturday.
The Gamecocks have been doing it with defense. Holding No. 5-ranked Georgia to just seven points was their crowning achievement thus far. The Gamecocks are 6-0, and they are allowing only 10.5 points per game this season.
This offense has been extremely balanced. Two quarterbacks have combined for 1,243 yards and 12 touchdowns, while their best offensive player, Marcus Lattimore, has recovered from a season-ending knee injury in 2011.
He has rushed for 549 yards and nine touchdowns in six games. He’s averaging less than 20 carries per game, so he should be fresh for the stretch run.
The Gamecocks have two consecutive tough road games next. The first is at LSU, and the second is at Florida.
If they split this two-game stretch, they should be a lock for a BCS bowl, barring a major upset. If they take both games, they will have as good a chance as any team to play for a national championship.
The Gators proved they are for real with a 14-6 victory over LSU on Saturday. It was their second win over a ranked SEC team. The Gators defense has been almost as nasty as South Carolina’s.
They have allowed only 11.4 points per game. Only Tennessee has managed to score 20 points against them this season. Sophomore Jeff Driskel has done a good job managing the game. He’s only thrown one interception, but the Gators have been lead offensively by their ground attack.
Mike Gillislee has run for 548 yards and seven touchdowns. They also have a tough road ahead of them: In addition to competing against a bruised Georgian team, they will also face South Carolina, and rival Florida State looms on the final game of the regular season.
Even with three formidable opponents on the horizon, the Gators are in a good spot to reach a BCS bowl game.
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