Geno Smith, a senior from West Virginia, has been selected as this week's Manning Award Player of the Week. Smith earns the honor over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week after earning the most votes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl's Facebook contest this season.
Smith, a native of Miami, FL, led West Virginia to a 42-12 victory over James Madison on Saturday at FedEx Field. The senior passed for 411 yards, becoming the Mountaineers passing yardage leader. Smith now has as many incompletions as TD passes after two games, which is exactly what former Manning Award winner, Robert Griffin, III accomplished last season. There was not much Smith could have done better as he completed 34 of 39 passes on 11 receptions and threw 5 TDs with 0 interceptions. West Virginia's 569 yards of offense proved to be too much for the Dukes to handle as the Mountaineers are now 13-0 all-time against FCS schools.
This was Smith's first win and third nomination. He was a candidate for the week of Sept. 3rd as well as once last season. The Mountaineers are now looking to go 3-0 as they host Maryland in Morgantown, WV on Saturday.
The West Virginia fans showed their appreciation for Smith's spectacular performance by voting him to the top of this week's list. Behind Smith were Texas' David Ash, this week's Big 12 QB of the Week and Conor Halliday of Washington State, who stepped up in a reserve role once again. Ash threw for 326 yards with 4 TDs and 0 interceptions as he registered his career-high for passing yards, leading the Longhorns to score 66 points, the most allowed by Ole Miss since 1917. Halliday threw for 378 yards and four touchdown passes in a 35-27 win over UNLV, giving him 13 career TD passes in six games.
The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting.
The honor will be recognizing its eighth winner this year. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor – he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. Auburn's Cameron Newton earn the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. This past season's honoree was Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, who was also a top NFL draft pick (No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins).