With the first loss of the season, EerSports goes a little more in-depth with our review and grade of each position. First up, the quarterback.
Several times Geno could have run for first down but opted to make a difficult, off-balanced throw.
Geno Smith was 29-of-55 for 275 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran twice for five yards.
First off, the interception streak is still alive, but I'd pay $50 to the first reporter to ask Dana Holgorsen about that this week. Furthermore, it should have ended on multiple occasions on Saturday.
Smith found himself throwing off-balance most of the day, even when he wasn't required to. With no pressure, Smith was still choosing to throw on the run, as if he were Derek Jeter fielding a ground ball in the hole.
When he did set his feet, he was overthrowing, short-hopping or throwing behind receivers. Dana Holgorsen pinned it on the wind during a brief television interview before halftime. Smith denied that was the reason after the game.
Whatever the excuse was, Smith was simply "off" all afternoon. It didn't help that his longtime friend and top target Stedman Bailey was out for the whole second half.
Another issue on Saturday was that he simply refused to run. On multiple occasions, the athletic Smith could have rushed for a first down or even a touchdown. Instead, he chose an erratic throw that, more often than not, fell helplessly to the turf.
In the attached picture, West Virginia is facing a 4th-and-4 on their first drive of the game. As you can see, Geno is currently at the 37-yard line with the closest defender (in front of him) at least 13 yards downfield (the corner covering the hitch route). Yes, Pat Eger was called for an egregious hold (bottom right), so it wouldn't have mattered, but it is a perfect example of the decisions that would follow.
Also of note, Geno throwing off-balanced and on the run when he didn't necessarily need to. The ball was overthrown.