MORGANTOWN - It's easy to forget now, nearly a year later. In fact, it was easy to forget in the aftermath of when it happened.
But as much as West Virginia won last year's game against Marshall on the strength of Geno Smith's passing, the Mountaineers might not have done it without his running.
Don't expect anything similar when the teams meet Sunday at Mountaineer Field.
"Geno's not going to be running the ball,'' quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said. "We want to eliminate [Smith absorbing] as many hits as possible.''
Smith was asked to be a runner several times last season. Most came from the midpoint of the season and after when West Virginia's sputtering offense obviously needed a spark.
But two of his biggest runs came against Marshall. Yes, he completed 17-of-20 passes while leading 96- and 98-yard scoring drives late in the game to send it to overtime, but on the first of those drives he converted a third-and-12 with an 18-yard run. On the second he had a 20-yard scramble that got WVU out to midfield with just over two minutes to play.
But Dana Holgorsen's quarterbacks don't run. They never have, no matter their athleticism.
"Case Keenum had unbelievable athleticism and scrambling ability. It didn't change anything with what we tried to do coaching-wise,'' Holgorsen said, referring to his quarterback at Houston. "What it does is it gets you out of bad situations. And Geno's athleticism is going to be able to get us out of bad situations.''
Smith has admitted in the past that he doesn't like to run the football. He would rather throw it. Still, his natural confidence would never allow him to say that he isn't good at it when he has to run. But neither he nor backup Paul Millard will be asked to carry the ball.
"Geno claims he's top-10 speed on the team right now. I completely disagree,'' Spavital said. "He claims to me that he's the best runner on the team. I'd rather have the ball in the hands of Tavon Austin or someone who can do something with it. I say Geno's middle of the pack [in terms of speed]. Paul? He's at the bottom.''
Holgorsen has a pretty simple explanation for why Tyler Rader earned the starting job at right guard.
"He was better than the other guys,'' Holgorsen said. "He blocked people better.''
It began in the spring and continued through fall camp. There are far more highly-recruited players behind him - the fifth-year senior from Nitro was only put on scholarship this summer - but none have managed to push him aside, literally or on the depth chart.
"He's tough. It means a lot to him,'' Holgorsen said. "Assignment-wise he's good and effort-wise he's been good. He's not the most overpowering guy that's ever played the position, but with consistency and getting in front of people, he's been good.''