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Mountaineers Thump Kansas

Smith is nearly perfect in victory

December 2, 2012
dsp By JOHN RABY , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MORGANTOWN - Geno Smith threw for 407 yards and three touchdowns to lead West Virginia to a 59-10 victory against Kansas on Saturday.

Smith completed 23 of 24 passes and became the first West Virginia quarterback to throw for 40 touchdowns in a season. His 95.8 completion percentage matched the single-game Bowl Subdivision record set by Tennessee's Tee Martin against South Carolina in 1998.

Afterward, cornerback Brodrick Jenkins threw a cupful of liquid on Smith, who jogged around the stadium to shake hands with fans in the final home game for him and 20 other seniors.

Article Photos

West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (1) carries the ball past Kansas JaCorey Shepherd (25) on Saturday.

AP Photo

Smith had passing plays of 40 yards or more to four different receivers. Biletnikoff Award finalist Stedman Bailey had 159 receiving yards and two touchdown grabs to boost his Bowl Subdivision leading total to 23.

West Virginia (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) finished with 650 yards of offense.

Kansas (1-11, 0-9) lost for the 11th straight time, the longest streak at the school since the Jayhawks lost 17 straight from 1953-55.

Kansas was limited to 274 total yards against one of the nation's worst defenses. Two Jayhawks quarterbacks combined to complete just 7 of 16 passes for 117 yards.

The Mountaineers scored touchdowns on five of their six first-half possessions. Every touchdown was set up by plays of 31 yards or longer.

Andrew Buie, who rushed for 100 yards, had a 42-yard reception on a screen play to set up Bailey's second touchdown, an 18 yarder that put the Mountaineers ahead 45-7 midway through the third quarter.

Kansas coach Charlie Weis hoped to use a bye week to try to figure out a way to slow down Tavon Austin, but the Jayhawks had little luck.

Austin set up three first-half touchdowns with long plays. He finished with four catches for 110 yards, had 77 rushing yards and a score and broke his own single-season school record for all-purpose yards. He has 2,760 total yards this season, second in the FBS to Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews (2,977).

Kansas junior James Sims had 57 yards to finish with 1,013 for the season, becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Jayhawks since Brandon McAnderson in 2007.

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist got his first start since Oct. 13, a span of six games. He threw a 41-yard pass to Andrew Turzilli on Kansas' second drive that put the Jayhawks inside the West Virginia 20. But two penalties pushed the ball back and West Virginia's Karl Joseph intercepted a tipped pass on third-and-18 to halt the threat.

Crist lasted just two series before Michael Cummings relieved him. Cummings found some success on the option read and led the Jayhawks to their only touchdown in the second quarter. Cummings and Christian Matthews took snaps in the second half.