West Virginia’s 48-45 victory Saturday at Texas perhaps just reinforced what Tech coach Tommy Tuberville thought about the Mountaineers all along.
“This is a good team,” said Tuberville, whose Red Raiders host No. 5 West Virginia on Saturday. “I said it the first of the year: My vote was going to go to these guys. Just knowing the quarterback they have, if anybody has the front-running lead for this championship, it will be them with all the experience and speed they’ve got.”
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, dating to last year’s Orange Bowl, has completed 198 of his last 247 passes, for 2,403 yards with 30 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Both Smith and Tech quarterback Seth Doege were among the invitees to this year’s Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana.
“I had a chance to watch him (Smith) quite a bit in the Manning Camp this summer against all the other quarterbacks in the country, and there was no better kid than him,” Tuberville said. “He’s got great touch on the ball. He loves to play, and you can tell he’s got that senior leadership — a guy that’s got some age to him.”
West Virginia running back Andrew Buie, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., was named the Big 12 offensive player of the week for his performance against Texas. Buie carried 31 times for 207 yards in his first career 100-yard game.
Tuberville said Buie shows the speed you’d expect from a Big 12 back, but he impresses in other ways.
“He runs like a 230-pounder. He breaks a lot of tackles,” Tuberville said.
Buie’s presence can make it difficult for a defense, which has to gear up for Smith and his talented receivers.
“When you start getting a good pass rush,” Tuberville said, “they’ve got a good counterpunch in terms of running delays and draws and those type of things with him, and they also have good screens with him.”