The Geno Smith era at quarterback at West Virginia University began with a victory.
Although making just his first start, Smith was on target most of the day and efficient in his passing. He completed 20 of 27 for 216 yards and two touchdowns, but he did throw one interception.
Smith, who is not an accomplished runner, ran more than expected, carrying the ball four times for six yards.
“We aren’t going to run the wishbone, but he is going to have to run some,” said WVU coach Bill Stewart, explaining why he decided to use him as a runner in the offense.
Smith took a while to get into the game.
“I thought our offense misfired early,” Stewart said. “I don’t want to make excuses for Geno, but this was his first complete game and he’s a sophomore. The pick was a bad break. He’ll get better and he’s my guy.”
Smith was pleased with his performance but not overwhelmed.
“We did what we had to do to win,” he said. “We got the ball in the hands of our playmakers. I’m satisfied, but I can do better.”
Barry Brunetti, the true freshman out of Memphis, saw his first college action and completed 3 of 5 passes but had no total yards. Jeremy Johnson, the other freshman, did not play, although Stewart said he would have liked to have gotten him into the game.
“I wanted to see both young men play, but we couldn’t,” he said.
Obviously, though, he doesn’t plan to redshirt either QB.
Heralded pass rusher Bruce Irvin saw his first action and had a couple of hurries of the Coastal Carolina quarterback but could not get his first sack.
He had 15 sacks last year in junior college ball in California.
Punter Greg Pugnetti had a stunning debut. He averaged 49.2 yards on six punts, with a long of 71.
The 71-yard punt, just before halftime, was beyond description, rolling dead at the Coastal Carolina 1, one of two punts he hit that were downed at the 1 and one of three inside the 20.