Geno Smith: The Greatest Quarterback in Mountaineer History


Jul 24, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith speaks to reporters during Big 12 Media Day at the Westin Galleria. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

With Saturday’s terrific aerial display, Geno Smith became the all-time leading passer in West Virginia University history.

Smith entered the game with 7,780 career passing yards. He trailed Marc Bulger by 373 yards (8,153 career passing yards) for the all-time WVU passing record.

Geno would put on a spectacular passing performance against the James Madison Dukes. He effectively and accurately threw the ball Saturday, breaking the WVU career passing record mid-way through the third quarter against JMU. Coach Holgorsen would pull Geno and the starting offense at the start of the fourth quarter, making Smith’s performance all the more impressive. In just three quarters of work, Geno completed 34 of 39 passes for 411 yards and 5 touchdowns, leading the Mountaineers to a 42-12 rout of the Dukes.

Smith has now thrown for more yards than any other Mountaineer quarterback and is arguably the best quarterback in Mountaineer history. But the argument is not a simple one.

Geno has a whole host of great quarterbacks to contend with for the title of ‘Top WVU Quarterback’: Fred Wyant, Mike Sherwood, Dan Kendra, Oliver Luck, Jeff Hostetler, Major Harris, Marc Bulger, Rasheed Marshall, Pat White, and so on. Each of the great West Virginia quarterbacks excelled in the offensive systems that they worked in. Some quarterbacks like Wyant, Marshall, Harris, and White were excellent dual threat passers, excelling both with their arms and their legs.

Other great quarterbacks like Luck, Hostetler, Bulger, and Smith were exceptional pocket passers. Some of the great pocket passing quarterbacks played in systems where the offense was well balanced between passing and running, in a more pro-style offense, while some (like Geno Smith) played in a pass heavy offense.

The individual talents of each quarterback, paired with the offensive system they played in, leaves plenty of room for debate as to who is the top quarterback in Mountaineer history. Geno’s career statistics, when considering the fact that he played in two different offensive systems, are even more impressive.

Smith started his career under coach Bill Stewart’s run first, more pro-style offense. Now Geno is the key component in coach Dana Holgorsen’s air raid offense. Smith’s ability to excel in multiple systems shows just how talented of a quarterback he is. Smith, in a little over two years as a starting quarterback has compiled some impressive statistics and set records.

Geno Smith holds the WVU career passing yards, touchdown passes, and pass completions records. With just two more passing attempts, Geno Smith will hold the career passing attempts record. Smith has accomplished all these passing career marks while only throwing 15 interceptions (24th on the school’s all-time list).

The only passer with more career total yardage than Geno Smith is Pat White with 10,529 combined yards (rushing and passing). White, who started 42 games for the Mountaineers, tallied 4,480 yards on the ground and 6,049 yards through the air. Geno Smith, who has shown flashes of rushing greatness, will never come close to White’s rushing totals. That means for Geno Smith to surpass White’s career yardage total, he will need to continue to air it out this season.

Geno Smith has a career total of 8,465 yards, leaving him 2,064 yards shy of Pat White’s career totals. Presuming that the Mountaineers advance to a bowl game, that leaves 11 games in the illustious career of Geno Smith. For Smith to surpass White’s total, he will need to average 188 yards per game. Smith, in two starts this so far this season, has compiled 817 total yards (409 yards per game average).

So long as Smith keeps putting up tremendous performances, he will easily smash Pat White’s career yardage total, leaving Smith alone at the top of virtually all the West Virginia quarterback statistics lists. He will not have a shot at breaking Pat White’s perfect 4-0 bowl record (including two BCS wins), but he will have the chance this season to register a second BCS win. In the event that Smith leads WVU to yet another BCS win, Smith will cement his place as the greatest quarterback in Mountaineer history.

What says you, Mountaineer Nation?