They did not invent the forward pass in the Big 12.
They simply perfected it.
This has become the nation’s top offensive conference and done so through the air with West Virginia University right there at or near the top in coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense.
During the Big 12 coaches’ conference call Monday, it was noted that this is such a big-play league that eight of the nation’s top 16 big-play teams are in the Big 12.
“We are in a scoring league,” Texas coach Mack Brown noted. “Good defenses give up a lot of points in this league. That’s just the way it is. It’s unique. Everyone in this league can score.”
Well, almost everyone, but you better be able to score if you expect to win.
Brown found that out last year.
“We couldn’t do it in a lot of games last year, and it hurt us,” he noted.
It comes down to doing it through the air, and that’s how Texas got it unwound this past week, scoring 66 points.
“We feel we took a major step forward in our passing game,” said Brown, who rode the arm of sophomore David Ash. “We have to continue to throw it, and we have to throw downfield.”
See, if you can’t throw the ball, you become ... eh, Kansas, a team that really struggles in this part of the game.
“When you feel there’s a talent discrepancy, you have to play more complementary football,” KU coach Charley Weis said. “All offensive coordinators like to sling all over the field. It does not bode well for us to do it that way. The slower we can play the game, the better for us.”
But slowing down a team doesn’t necessarily cut back on its scoring. Look at WVU’s undefeated Mountaineers to figure that out.
WVU is fourth in the nation in scoring with 55.5 points a game, one of seven Big 12 teams in the top 16 in points per game in the country.
Check this out though. WVU is fourth in scoring, 108th in time of possession, having the ball only 25.46 minutes a game. That means they are averaging better than two points for every minute they hold the ball.
Most of it is due to the incredible play of quarterback Geno Smith and his two top receivers, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.
Smith is No. 4 in passing rating in the nation and No. 2 in pass efficiency. Leading the way is the man he dueled with in the opener, by the way, Rakeem Cato of Marshall, but does that really matter?
Holgorsen doesn’t think so, saying, “Ultimately, it will be how many games we win is what he’ll be remembered for.”
And if he plays the way he has, it figures there will be a lot of wins, although this week’s Maryland game could be a big test.
“I haven’t personally been around a guy who had those stats that Geno has through the first two games,” Holgorsen said. “Going into Maryland, they are ranked eighth in the nation in total defense. It’s going to get tougher this week. If he can play like that against better competition, yeah, it’s special.”
And as for Bailey and Austin ... well, Bailey is ranked No. 1 in the nation in receiving yards per game at 138.50 and is ranked first in catches per game with 11.00 while Austin is second in the nation in catches per game with 10.50.
They did not invent the forward pass in the Big 12.
- WVU Sports
Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit
West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.
WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5
The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules
At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.
Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma
Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing
Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.
Huggins signs junior college guard
Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing
The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.
FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors
Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
• A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
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