Maisel: WVU needed Smith's big day

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. -- When quarterback Geno Smith and the rest of the West Virginia offense stop to think about how they rewrote the school record book in their Big 12 debut, let's hope they remember that they wouldn't have done so without Nick Florence and the Baylor offense.

A generation ago, Affirmed won the 1978 Triple Crown because Alydar pushed him in all three races. Magic had Larry. Jack Nicklaus had Tom Watson. And on Saturday, Smith and the No. 9 Mountaineers put up video game stats because they needed every single one of their 10 touchdowns to beat the No. 25 Bears, 70-63.

The West Virginia senior completed 45-of-51 for 656 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions. Smith passed like a quarterback who stopped at Milan Puskar Stadium on his way to pick up a Heisman Trophy. He passed as if he were the best quarterback in the joint, which is saying something, given that Andrew Luck watched the game with his father, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck (the Colts are off Sunday).

"I think I've had better games," Smith said afterward. "Statistically, it's my best game."

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, who arrived last season and unleashed Smith's talent on an unsuspecting world, worries that Smith's perfectionism will be a detriment. He read Smith's stats aloud to answer a question and asked, "Can you please tell me how you can improve that?"

Smith is reluctant to say any game is his best. "I got a lot of football left in my career," he said. "The limit is the sky."

For Ivan Maisel's full column, click here.