Records Fall in Big 12 Shootout - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Records Fall in Big 12 Shootout

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MORGANTOWN -

We should have listened when we were told how different this new conference would be.

Sure, we understood the tempo is quickened, the offenses find the end zone and the scoreboard gets lit, but what happened on Saturday in Morgantown could not have been reasonably foreseen.

The first Big 12 action on Mountaineer Field resulted in a postgame record sheet that carried over the second page. That's how many program or national marks had been reached, duplicated or surpassed.

Start with the scoreboard itself. Morgantown has seen greater numbers on the home side, but never with such a close sum posted next to it. The combined 133 points set a school record. At the half, with 70 combined, another record had fallen.

West Virginia and Baylor racked up the scoring behind a Milan Puskar Stadium record 180 offensive plays. The Bears snapped the ball 92 times to the Mountaineers' 88.  

Each team's total offensive yardage was better than any program had ever done on that field.

But the individuals on that side of the ball are the ones who will look back on the action as career days and they'll do so in a variety of categories.

Geno Smith, in what was supposed to be his first big test and the opportunity to prove his worth as a Heisman Trophy frontrunner, was nearly flawless. For the third time this season, his number of touchdowns thrown outweighed his incompletions.

In completing 88 percent of his passing, Smith set the national record for best completion percentage with a minimum of 50 attempts. Those 45 connections were a school record, as were the 656 yards they accumulated.

That WVU record he set in the Orange Bowl of six touchdown passes? It only took him four games to best it with eight.

"I think it's more about the team and it just lets us know that we're going to have to battle it out every week against some really tough teams in the Big 12 and I think the best thing is that we had a good drive there at the end and were able to seal the game and overcame adversities and just got better as the game went along," Smith said after the game.

Asked what Smith could do better than what had just transpired on the field, Holgorsen read his quarterback's statistics out loud. 

"Can you please tell me how you can improve on that?" Holgorsen then asked. "He played well."

Stedman Bailey, who knows Smith better than anyone else on that field, had a different way of explaining what he saw from his old high school teammate.

"Geno's been phenomenal. I mean, it's just crazy," Bailey said. "I've known him for so long and he's doing so well. But he does a good job of making smart decisions, he reads the field very well, he's just always composed back there."

He was composed enough to hit three different receivers 13 or more times, each for over 100 yards.

At one point, Tavon Austin was a mere two yards shy of West Virginia's single game receiving record. Just one more touch pass turned up field and he would lead all catchers in the history of the program.

Instead, with Austin in motion for that jet sweep, Smith kept the ball. The defense bit on the fake, and Bailey streaked down the field. Pass, catch and 87 yards later, the junior receiver had surpassed his teammate and set the receiving record.

Suddenly Austin had plenty of ground to make up.

Bailey's 303 yards and five touchdowns presented a dream scenario for any receiver. And yet, it was almost as though he woke up on Saturday expecting himself to eclipse the three century mark.

"I thought to myself all week that I have to come out and have a big game with us playing a good opponent in Baylor and everything just worked out the way we wanted it to," says Bailey.

And let's not ignore what Austin was able to do. Though he only added eight more yards to his total after getting so close to the record, he finished the day with a school record 14 receptions and 215 yards, good enough for second all-time behind that teammate of his.

With 26 and 24 receiving touchdowns, Bailey and Austin rank first and second on that list as well. They each passed former WVU receiver David Saunders for the most 100-yard receiving games in a Mountaineer uniform. Austin shows the most receiving yards in school history with 2,684.

The last time any duo in the nation went for over 200 yards receiving in the same game was back in 2007 when Holgorsen was in charge of Texas Tech wideouts Danny Amendola and Michael Crabtree.

These were the sort of numbers that kids dream about and only achieve in video games. Or, you know, in the Big 12.

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