COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Geno Smith set career highs for passing yards, attempts and completions Saturday and West Virginia won a game against Maryland.
So why afterwards did coach Dana Holgorsen at different times call his performance awful and terrible?
Well, because it could have been so much better. And Smith knows it.
"I made some mistakes,'' Smith said. "I made some bad throws.''
He obviously made some good ones, too. By day's end, he completed 36-of-49 passes for 388 yards. He had some passes that were, frankly, stunning. He threaded a ball to Ivan McCartney in the first quarter for a 14-yard gain to set up a touchdown. He hit McCartney on a perfect streak down the right sideline for 36 yards. He led Stedman Bailey on a nice 34-yard touchdown. He gave Ryan Nehlen his first career reception with a clutch cross-field throw to convert a third-and-9 in the fourth quarter.
But close to the goal line, Smith wasn't nearly as successful. And that's what Holgorsen will remember when it comes time for practice today.
"He missed a couple of throws on the goal line that he's got to make,'' Holgorsen said. "He can do a whole lot better.''
Indeed, Smith threw six passes while the Mountaineers were inside the Maryland 20 on three possessions. He completed just one, a 9-yarder to a back, Vernard Roberts.
The worst, as far as Holgorsen was concerned, was on what could have been a clinching touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. It turned into a field goal drive that gave West Virginia a 37-31 lead and left the door open for a Maryland comeback when Smith threw two incompletions from the 4-yard line.
The second was with Bailey running a perfect route and getting open quickly. Smith's pass was nowhere near him and sailed out of bounds.
"The one on the goal line was awful,'' Holgorsen said. "We knew we'd get single coverage and we told him to look. Stedman had an unbelievable release and the throw was terrible.
"It's part of Geno's game that has to get better.''
ABC announced late Saturday night that West Virginia's game this Saturday against LSU will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by the network.
The network last week used one of its six-day windows to delay a decision on when the play the game and what network (ESPN or ABC) would televise it until after the results of this weekend's games.
When No. 3 LSU beat Mississippi State on Thursday night and the No. 18 Mountaineers dispatched Maryland on Saturday, it set up a marquee game of unbeaten and ranked teams.
There also remains the possibility that ESPN could bring its College Gameday crew to Morgantown on Saturday. That decision had not been made as of late Saturday. The decision to put the WVU-LSU game in prime time on ABC was announced at the end of Oklahoma's 23-13 win over Florida State just before 11:30 p.m.