MORGANTOWN - The Geno Smith-for-Heisman Trophy campaign might have slowed on Saturday. But not by much.
In his team's 31-21 win over Maryland, the WVU quarterback wasn't as sharp as in the Mountaineers' first two victories. He was sacked a couple times. And he now has fewer touchdowns (12) than incompletions (22) on the season. Before the game there were nine of each.
Still, Smith completed 30 of 43 passes at Milan Puskar Stadium for 338 yards and three touchdowns. He still has no interceptions on the season. So the campaign continues.
"Me personally, I think I did OK," Smith said. "I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be. I missed some throws and reads and started off kind of slow. That's a credit to Maryland. They did a good job of mixing up things and giving us a lot of different looks.
"We sorted it out and figured it out as the game went along. Obviously, we want to start a lot faster, but the offense did nothing to hurt our team. We didn't have any turnovers or major penalties - aside from that one [a holding call against Nick Kindler] in the fourth quarter. I think we did a pretty good job."
WVU finished with 363 total yards against a team returning a second-team All-America defensive tackle in Joe Vellano and a unit ranked eighth nationally in total defense and sixth in pass defense.
"Geno was a bit off," said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen. "Still, that's not bad by any stretch of the imagination. I think he got hit early and that rattled him."
Smith wants improvement.
"It's apparent we have a lot to work on," said the QB. "We did do a lot of good things and it's never bad to get a win, but obviously we want to play a lot better. We're perfectionists around here. We don't want to settle for OK or mediocre. We want to evaluate ourselves and try to get better."
Tavon Austin proved the star of the game with 13 catches for 179 yards. ("Tavon played great, as he always does - especially against Maryland," Smith said. "He's a guy from that area and always wants to stick it to 'em. Today he really carried us on his back.")
"Geno did good," Austin said. "Every game isn't going to be 400 [passing] yards. We played a good team with a good scheme and we still put 30 on them."
Smith said he might have held the ball too long at times.
"I have to go and watch film," he said. "From my perspective, I didn't get into my reads as quick as I should maybe. We had to call some deep plays because they were blitzing us and we had to keep them on their heels. We couldn't just throw short passes and allow them to attack us, which they were doing early.
"Sometimes I didn't get to the right read. Just held the ball too long. They're some things I need to correct."