West Virginia scoring high in Big 12
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The scoreboard did not blow up last week in West Virginia's 70-63 shootout victory against Baylor, but the jokes that it could have will be heard again this season.
High-scoring offenses are a Big 12 staple, but the wild numbers from Geno Smith's passing game have elevated things to another level.
Consider the words of one Big 12 coach this week.
"It's a tad bit scary to tell you the truth. Every week, you look at the scoreboard and say, 'My gosh,' " said Kansas coach Charlie Weis. "You just look at the numbers, then statistically you look at the verification [of] the numbers. I know it's across the country but especially in this conference where so many points are being scored, it's almost like you can't even fathom.
"What Geno Smith did the other day, you look at those numbers. How could that possibly happen? It's kind of scary."
The Mountaineers' biggest test so far comes at No. 11 Texas Saturday, against a defense that is fast, likes to blitz and spends its energy on slowing down opponents.
Conventional wisdom says the Mountaineers can't possibly get near 70 points again this week. That Smith can't possibly throw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns because the Longhorns are simply far more talented in the secondary than Baylor was and will pose tougher matchups for the receivers.
"Whoever wins that battle will be extremely significant in the outcome of this game," said coach Dana Holgorsen. "Our receivers are going to have players in their grill for the first time all year -- much like LSU did last year."
No matter what Texas does on defense it won't change the Mountaineers philosophy: take what the defense gives and try to score, score, score.
"When we get out there, we have to get first downs and move the chains. Take what they give us," said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. "As far as attacking tempo, we can't go into a game, saying, well they might take the air out of the ball so we've got to press. That's when things go bad."
Smith and his 208.4 passer rating will see what he can do at Texas.
"They've got pretty good guys on defense. They're Texas," said Smith. "But football is still football. Our offense is going to be prepared. I'll be the same way I always am."
Considering Texas beat Oklahoma State, 41-36, a week ago, and Oklahoma State runs a similar pass-first spread offense, one might conclude the Longhorns have an advantage.
Instead of seeing his opponents gain, Holgorsen turned it around to see his own.
"We got a whole game of watching how they defend it, so depends on how you want to look at it," said Holgorsen.
"They're going to be more aggressive. That's just the bottom line. They'll play more man, get in your face more. But we can't sit here and get too caught up in their personnel," said Dawson. "We have to execute. Execute the next play."
• Game: West Virginia at Texas.
• When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
• Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas.
• TV: WPGH.
First Published October 5, 2012 12:00 am