By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
MORGANTOWN — Quarterback Geno Smith has come up with a script for West Virginia’s football game Saturday night at Oklahoma State.
He said, “We just have to go out there with the mentality that we are going to score. WE have to be confident.
“We have to play fast, and we have to play hard. Things haven’t changed for us.”
This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Saturday’s kickoff is set for 7 o’clock. OSU is a 7-point favorite. ABC is televising the action.
The Mountaineers (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) are attempting to end a three-game losing streak. The Cowboys are 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12.
Smith said, “I still think that we have a really good offense. We are making progress, working guys in and out of the rotations as far as receivers, backs and offensive linemen.”
He noted that WVU is going to have fresh bodies out there and ready to play. That includes personnel for most positions.
Geno thinks last Saturday’s 39-38 double-overtime loss to TCU was at least a step in the right direction.
“For the most part, we were able to sustain drives and put together some really good drives,” Smith said.
“Overall, I think we did a pretty good job at just keeping the ball in play and moving forward. We did not have many negative plays.”
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior, is No. 2 among passing in the league with 324.4 yards per game. He has completed 249 of 346 passes in eight games for 2,677 yards and 29 touchdowns.
OSU has been using two quarterbacks, J.W. Walsh is fifth and Wes Lunt is No. 8 in passing. Walsh, a freshman, have made 102 of 134 passes for 1,467 yards and 10 TDs, while Lunt has completed 80 of 128 for 1,096 yards and six scores.
OSU’s Joseph Randle is Big 12’s top rusher with 175 attempts for 934 yards and nine touchdowns. WVU’s Andrew Buie is fourth in rushing with 593 yards on 125 carries and five scores.
Senior Tavon Austin of WVU leads the conference in receptions per game with 85 catches for 899 yards and 10 TDs. He also is No. 2 in receiving yards per game.
Geno is No. 2 in total offense (2,760 yards) and Walsh is fifth (1,721).
Both Stedman Bailey and Austin rank among the top four in scoring (TDs) in league play.
Oklahoma State owns an edge in most major statistical categories.
Offensively, WVU is averaging 40.8 points per game to the Cowboy’s 42.5; first downs 201 to 219; total offense per game 480.4 to 579.5; rushing average 139.3 yards to 220.0 yards; passing yards per game 340.9 yards to 355.9.
Defensively, scoring average per game 39.8 to 25.8 per game; first downs 188 to 165; and total offense average per game is 480.4 yards to 377.5.
Each team has six interceptions, and WVU recovered seven fumbles and OSU three.
WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said, “It’s crazy that the Big 12 has teams that are having difficulty winning home games this year. To know that the home team has lost more is crazy.
“There are a lot of good teams in the Big 12. We enjoy playing on the road. We enjoy the travel and being with each other.”