MORGANTOWN - Geno Smith was talking one day this summer about expectations and how difficult they might be to fulfill for West Virginia's football team.
After all, he said, that 70-33 win over Clemson in January's Orange Bowl was in a lot of ways a fluke. Teams just don't routinely throw up points on a scoreboard like that.
"The only negative,'' he said, "was now they'll expect us to score 70 every game.''
On Saturday, the Mountaineers proved that's not always possible. But on this day it was only because Tyler Bitancurt isn't always perfect.
West Virginia's offense picked up right where it left off in Miami, the defense did pretty much exactly what was expected of it - giving up a ton of yards but making up for it by forcing turnovers - and the Mountaineers put an emphatic exclamation point on the end of their series with Marshall with a 69-34 rout of the Herd.
Yes, West Virginia's 12th win in 12 games against MU - played in front of a crowd of 59,120 at Mountaineer Field - was just as easy as the score indicates. That's because the offense lived up to virtually all of those ridiculous expectations.
"I don't want to say anything too early, but I think we did a great job today,'' said Smith, the senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate who did nothing to diminish his preseason hype, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another. "I think I was able to mix it up a little, spread it around and guys were making plays.
"But, like I said, it's only Game 1 and we can improve so much from here.''
Well, yes, there are certainly areas in which the Mountaineers can improve. In fact, coach Dana Holgorsen referred to them generally first in his postgame remarks.
"I don't know how it looked from where y'all were sitting,'' Holgorsen said, sounding more West Virginia than he probably ever has, "but there's a whole bunch of things we have to work on.''
But without getting overly picky - which Holgorsen certainly will - offense isn't one of those things.
The Mountaineers piled up 655 total yards, split them almost evenly between rushing (331) and passing (324), didn't turn the ball over and scored on nine of the 10 possessions played by the starters.
Smith was as close to perfect as might be possible. He completed 32 of 36 passes for 323 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran the ball eight times for 65 yards and accounted for his fifth touchdown when he ran 28 yards on a broken play.