LUBBOCK, Texas - A couple of times early Saturday evening, in the aftermath of West Virginia's lopsided loss at Texas Tech, Geno Smith seemed simultaneously intent upon taking the lion's share of the responsibility for the defeat while also defending himself.
"Everyone has a bad game. That's really all there is to it,'' Smith said after the 49-14 shellacking at the hands of the Red Raiders. "I don't think I played terribly bad. I just don't think I did enough to win the game.
"And that's the way I measure myself, on wins and losses rather than completions and all that other stuff that people like to build up in the media or whatever.''
Well, no one - media or otherwise - is likely to be building up this performance, be it that by Smith individually or West Virginia on the whole. In fact, what happened at Jones AT&T Stadium was downright perplexing.
Granted, the worst part about WVU's performance was a defense that gave up 676 yards and 49 points. Consider that in just six games this season, opponents have already posted by far the two largest total offense outputs ever by a West Virginia opponent in well over a century of football. Baylor rolled up 700 yards and Texas Tech's 676-yard total was also better than the 638 that Texas Western put up 62 years ago.
The Mountaineers have now given up a 400-yard passing performance (Marshall's Rakeem Cato, 413) and two of 500 yards or a hair away (Baylor's Nick Florence, 581, and Tech's Seth Doege, 499). Before this season only five opposing QBs had thrown for 400 yards in more than 1,200 games against WVU.
Still, that can be - and has been - rendered less than fatal if West Virginia's offense simply scores even more. But for the first time all season, that offense wasn't just slowed, it was essentially stopped. Until Smith led a meaningless touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, the offense that had 10-touchdown performances in three of its last six games had but one. And that came on a drive that covered just 54 yards.