No, your eyes or your ears did not deceive you when you learned that Geno Smith won the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week Award for his performance against Marshall but that he failed to win the West Virginia team award for Offensive Player of the Week.
That went to running back Shawne Alston, who powered his way for 123 yards and two touchdowns, a huge day in the WVU offense but overshadowed by Smith’s 32 completions in 36 attempts for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
How did that happen?
Coach Dana Holgorsen explained during this week’s Big 12 coaches’ conference call.
“Geno is going to get a lot of stuff nationally, obviously, and Geno played his best game since I’ve been here,” Holgorsen said. “We could have very easily given it to him but we like to spread it out a little. Shawne Alston played his best game that he’s ever played. (Guard) Jeff Braun was considered because he played the best game he’s played since he’s been here. We could have given it to some of the other offensive linemen.
“You can make a case for a lot of people but Shawne, based on his playing the best he has since he’s been a Mountaineer, I thought it was pretty easy.”
Then Holgorsen went on to point out why it was so easy.
“You know Shawne had about 65 yards after contact, so half of the rushing yards were him just doing it himself.”
While West Virginia’s opening game offense was spectacular, the team many consider their prime competition for the Big 12 title opened without much spectacular happening on offense as the Oklahoma Sooners went to Texas-El Paso and won, 24-7.
Quarterback Landry Jones, who with Smith and USC’s quarterback Matt Barkley, is considered a top Heisman Trophy candidate, had a day that paled in comparison to Smith’s. He threw for 222 yards on 21 of 26 passing.
Jones’ coach, Bob Stoops, wasn’t about to knock that in the first game, focusing on the rest of the offense.
The biggest problem that Stoops saw was inconsistency everywhere on the offense.
“Some of it is really good; some of it needs to be better. It was that way across the board,” he said. “At times we protected well; at times we let a pressure or two get to us. We have to be able to adjust to some things on the fly when we see them.
“Same thing blocking-wise. We averaged 5.5 yards a carry, which is pretty good. At times, when we’re targeting the right people, it looks really clean. Other times we didn’t. Those are some of the things you have to clean up.”