Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 12, the number once worn by WVU quarterback, Geno Smith.
Originally from Mirarmar, FL, Smith was a four-year member of the WVU football program, from 2009 to 2012. During his record-setting Mountaineer career, Smith made 44 career appearances (39 starts) for West Virginia. He completed 988 passes for 11,662 yards for 98 touchdowns, and ran the ball for 341 yards and four touchdowns. Smith appeared in four bowl games during his time in the program, including the infamous 2012 Discover Orange Bowl.
Smith finished his collegiate career as the all-time school leader in several offensive statistical categories including passing touchdowns, completions, and passing yards. He earned first-team, all-Big East honors following his junior season, and was named the Most Valuable Player of WVU’s 70-33 victory over the Clemson Tigers in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
As a freshman, Smith only appeared in five games as a back-up to then starter, Jarrett Brown. Over the course of the 2009 season, Smith completed 32 passes for 309 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. The Mountaineers finished that season with a record of 9-4 overall after they were defeated in the 2010 Gator Bowl by Florida State. That game was significant for the program as Smith saw a majority of the offensive snaps at quarterback as Brown had to leave the game before half-time due to injury. Also, the bowl was the final game for former Mountaineer and, then-Seminoles coach, Bobby Bowden.
In his sophomore season, Smith started all 13 games for the old Gold and Blue. During the 2010 season, Smith passed for 2,763 yards, with 24 touchdowns and seven picks. His yard and touchdown totals both set new sophomore highs as Smith went on to lead the Mountaineers to another 9-4 campaign, and a bid to the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl. Smith also recorded his first 300+ yard game in an early season comeback victory at Marshall. He recorded a second 300+ yard effort that season in a 35-14 victory at Rutgers.
During the 2011 season, the 6’3”, 214 pound gunslinger had his best season on the collegiate level as he threw for a record 4,385 yards on 346 completions, with 31 touchdown passes, and seven interceptions. Smith became one of three Mountaineers in program history (Marc Bulger and Mike Sherwood the other two) to pass for 400+ yards in a game as he recorded 463 yards in a 47-21 loss at home against LSU. Geno became the second Mountaineer to throw for 400 yards or more on two separate occasions in a single season when he recorded 450 yards in a blowout home win against UConn. West Virginia finished the regular season with a record of 9-3, and earned the program its first BCS Bowl bid since 2007.
As the Mountaineers were the heavy underdog in the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl against the ACC Champion Clemson Tigers, they played the entire game with a chip on their shoulder. Several new FBS bowl records were set as the Mountaineers blew the game wide with a fantastic first half. Smith’s stat line on the night included 407 yards on 32 completions, with six passing touchdowns. He also recorded a seventh touchdown on a running touchdown early in the first half of the school’s most memorable bowl triumph. Smith’s seven all-purpose touchdowns, 42 individual points, six passing touchdowns, and 407 passing yards were just four of the nine separate records set in West Virginia’s 70-33 victory.
Smith played out his final season for the Mountaineers during the 2012 season. The season began with expectations of the school’s first national championship, and a Heisman Trophy coming to “Touchdown City,” by way of Geno, or Tavon Austin. All hopes of both fizzled mid-way through the season as the team struggled through a five-game losing streak during the school’s first season in the Big XII conference. Smith did have a fantastic year, none the less, as he threw for 4,205 yards on 369 completions, with 42 touchdowns, and six interceptions. West Virginia finished the season with a disappointing mark of 7-6 overall following a disastrous 38-14 loss at the hands of Syracuse in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Geno Smith went on the graduate from West Virginia University in the spring of 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Following his graduation from the school, Smith went on to pursue a career in professional football as he was selected by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
After beating out Mark Sanchez for the job in training camp, Smith became the starting quarterback of the Jets in just his first season. Last season, Smith struggled at times as he threw for just 12 touchdowns, and 3,046 yards, with a grim 21 interceptions to his credit. However, his adjustments to the speed of the pro game showed late in the year as he was able to help the Jets finish with a record of 8-8.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-13 are still available here at WVUPros.com