“This is an opportunity to prove ourselves again.”
That’s how quarterback Geno Smith sees West Virginia’s Big 12 football battle against Kansas State at 7 p.m. today in Mountaineer Field/Milan Puskar Stadium.
The game is being televised on Fox network. The Mountaineers remain a 2 1/2-point favorite against the Wildcats, who are ranked No. 4 in The Associated Press poll.
“It was embarrassing,” Smith said of last week’s 49-14 loss at Texas Tech. “But that’s now behind us.
“It will be great to play in front of our fans again. We play with great energy when we’re home.”
A sellout crowd of 60,000-plus is assured.
The Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) are ranked only 17th, so a victory would regain some ground and respect in the polls.
Kansas State is 6-0 and 3-0 in conference games.
The players seemed upbeat and confident during Tuesday night’s interviews. They are confident that WVU can play well enough to bounce back at the Wildcats’ expense.
“We always play with more energy at home,” said Smith, who remains the No. 1 passer in the Big 12.
“But they are very experienced, very good and they play hard. So we want to go out on the field and slug it out with them.”
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior from Miami, is WVU’s all-time career leader in completions (814), attempts (1,206) and passing touchdowns (81).
He’s No. 1 on the school’s passing yards chart with 9,728 and No. 2 in career total offense (9,990).
Nationally, Smith is No. 1 in total points responsible for (26.0 per game) and in passing efficiency (80.80). He is No. 2 in passing yards per game (385).
So he still should be in the Heisman Trophy race.
For the season, Smith has completed 195 of 259 passes for 2,271 yards and 25 touchdowns. But he has yet to be intercepted.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, who apparently prefers to run rather than pass, has completed 79 of 119 passes for 1,074 yards and seven scores.
But Klein ranks No. 4 among Big 12 rushers with 510 yards and 10 touchdowns on 98 carries.
West Virginia’s Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey rank 1-2 among the league’s top receivers.
John Hubert leads the Wildcats in rushing with 606 yards and eight touchdowns on 98 running plays. Freshman Andrew Buie is WVU’s top rusher with 504 yards and five scores on 104 carries.
Austin, a senior, is the league leader in all-purpose yards and kick returns as well as pass-catching.
His buddy receiver, Bailey, is No. 1 nationally in scores per game (14.0), tied for No. 3 in receptions per game (9.17), and No. 4 in receiving yards per game.
West Virginia is averaging 45.7 points per game to Kansas State’s 40.8 and in total offense the average is 543.7 yards to 427.5.
The bulge is biggest in passing yards per game, 385.3 to 179.6. But the Wildcats claim the edge in rushing yards per game, 248.5 to WVU’s 158.4.
Each team has lost two of six fumbles and KSU has thrown two interceptions to one.
Defensively, the Wildcats have been toughest. They have allowed just 99 points to WVU’s 224, 113 first downs to 147 and 339.7 total yards defense to 498.5 per game.
“This is an opportunity to prove ourselves again.”
- Sports column
Baseball continues to endure despite the detractors
April 19, 2014
Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil
The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.
April 18, 2014 1 Photo
Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari
Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?
April 16, 2014 1 Photo
Too much of a good thing at UConn?
The Connecticut Huskies dominate women's college basketball - which makes for a boring game.
April 11, 2014 1 Photo
Exciting night at Coppinger
April 10, 2014
Aaron, still a hero, 40 years after No. 715
April 10, 2014
Taking someone out to the ballgame gets expensive
Families in big-league cities like Boston and New York pay steep prices to catch a baseball game. It's not so expensive everywhere - especially if you're frugal.
April 9, 2014 1 Photo
Woods is great, but Nicklaus’ 18 majors are safe
April 3, 2014
As Final Four tips off, all eyes are on the refs
Whistles have changed the course of the NCAA tournament. Let's just hope one doesn't decide college basketball's next national champion.
April 3, 2014 1 Photo
Mark Cuban's pork predictions also apply to NCAA
Colorful criticism of pro football's ambitious plans for growth could equally reflect the college game, where terms have become so one-sided that some athletes are petitioning to unionize.
April 1, 2014 1 Photo
- More Sports column Headlines
- Baseball continues to endure despite the detractors
- Local Sports
- Hot Flashes strut ball skills for ministry 19 hours 1 Photo
- McDaniel sets record pace at Jerolee White 5K Run 19 hours 1 Photo
- PikeView claims Mingo Bay bracket title 19 hours 1 Photo
- Beavers survive Tornado 1 day 1 Photo
- Mavericks wrangle Knights 1 day 1 Photo
- River View wins eighth in a row 1 day
- Graham returns to Caravan for 44th consecutive year 2 days 1 Photo
- Tazewell rallies past Falcons on diamond 2 days 1 Photo
- Prep roundup: No-hitter by Nash leads PikeView to bracket finals 2 days
- Raiders find View better against Knights 2 days
- Election 2014: Candidates forgo the drama, but go to the dogs when warranted 14 hours 1 Photo
- Hope springs eternal in the inspiring, courageous message of Easter 1 day
- Pope Francis a model of humility 2 days 1 Photo
- ‘Late Show’ with Colbert: Limbaugh lacks a sense of humor or sense 2 days
- Beware of faraway friends and strangers who want to give you money 3 days 1 Photo
- ‘Blood relations’ give W.Va. another black eye, while airline mystery endures 4 days 1 Photo
- Cattle grazing standoff in Nevada ends peacefully with BLM retreat 5 days
- A beautiful tune can float like a blanket of air gliding over rolling hills 6 days 1 Photo
- Dogs, tattoos, trains, more 6 days
- Darkroom to Drop Box: Technology aids in getting news out quickly 7 days 1 Photo
- NDN Video
- Martinez slams home run to help Tigers top Angels Rosenthal: Trout's contract was a compromise Full Count: Stephen Drew best SS option for Tigers Let It Ride: NBA Playoffs - First Round Odds Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend NBA playoff preview: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Eastern Conference playoff preview Can Malik Zaire Win the QB Job At Notre Dame? Boise State's Past Points To A Promising Future NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Seattle Seahawks NBA playoff previews: Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Clippers Mike Tyson throws out first pitch at PNC Park Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Philadelphia Eagles Boomer: Chris Johnson signing will work for Jets NHL playoff preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - New England Patriots NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Washington Redskins