Will West Virginia Beatdown by Texas Tech Damage Geno Smith's Heisman Hopes?

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVOctober 13, 2012

After disappearing from a big conference game for his then-undefeated, fifth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, could star quarterback Geno Smith's Heisman Trophy hopes be damaged beyond repair? 

Not a chance.

It's far too early to tell how far-reaching the impact of a 49-14 beatdown by the unranked Texas Tech Red Raiders will be. At best, it'll give many expert voters a reason to consider others as possible favorites at this point.

But even in the worst-case scenario, Smith didn't come close to playing himself out of contention for the prestigious award.

Prior to Week 7 of the 2012 college football season, Smith made himself an incredible case for the Heisman. He was running away with the whole thing. So much so, that he was a few more similar performances away from locking up the award as much as a month before the end of the season.

Obviously, we were wrong to put that much trust in Smith's ability, as the weaknesses of his offense were exposed in front of a solid but not elite defense. But it can't all be put on Geno.

When your defense gives up 35 points before the half, you're going to have a nearly impossible time winning all of your games. Even the best offenses can't always support themselves, and you'll inevitably play an entire half struggling to put up points. 

That first half of play hit the West Virginia offense hard early on in Lubbock, Texas, and it just so happened that the Red Raiders offense was clicking on all cylinders.

After all, they were facing a defense that couldn't manage to stay in front of receivers and always seemed to be out of position across the board.

That's not to say that we can't put much of the blame on the Heisman contender. Smith came into Saturday's game without a pick on the season, but he looked too hesitant to throw one once he noticed how much the opposing defense was ball-hawking. That resulted in throwing multiple balls that sailed above receivers' heads out of bounds, overthrowing deep balls and making unproductive decisions.

When their defense tightened up and gave the Mountaineers offense a chance to score points, Smith couldn't string together first downs enough to drive his team down the field largely due to his inaccuracy.

On top of that, the entire offense was making irretrievable mistakes such as fumbling hand-offs and blowing blocking coverage on key downs.

The blueprint is out on stopping West Virginia, and Smith better hope that no team on WVU's remaining schedule executes that blueprint anywhere near the way that Texas Tech did. Keep Smith from impacting the game with his legs, and keep their playmakers in front of the play. 

As much as this can be a case against Geno Smith's Heisman hopes, it more so is an indication of West Virginia's worth in the Top 25 as a whole. Their QB still should and will be one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy, but this isn't a team capable of competing for a national championship.


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