WVU Finishes Eighth In Big 12
WVU senior QB Geno Smith was 23-24 for 407 yards and three scores as the Mountaineers routed the Kansas Jayhawks 59-10 on Senior Day at Milan Puskar Stadium on Dec. 1.
The Gold and Blue struck first on their opening drive as running back Andrew Buie scored on a two-yard run and Tyler Bitancurt added the PAT with 12:34 to go in the first. Then, senior bruiser Shawn Alston added another two-yard run as Bitancurt added a second PAT to push the Mountaineers up 14-0 with 2:08 to go in the first. The score remained the same after one.
In the second period, Smith hit long-time friend and high school teammate Stedman Bailey from eight yards out and Bitancurt did his job successfully to make it 21-0 WVU with 11:34 to go in the quarter. The Jayhawks struck back with a one-yard plunge into the end zone and a good PAT to narrow the gap. Alston scored again, this time from one yard out. Bitancurt added the PAT to make it 28-7 ‘Ears with 3:29 left before intermission.
However, the ‘Eers were not done. With less then 30 seconds to play in the half, Smith found J.D. Woods from eight yards out and Bitancurt added the bonus point to make it 35-7 Gold and Blue heading into the locker room. In the third period, Bitancurt booted a 30-yard field goal to boost WVU’s advantage to 38-7.
Smith then hit Bailey from 16 yards out for their second score of the night. After Tavon Austin broke off a long run to the Kansas one yard line, you could hear the chants of “Tavon, Tavon, Tavon” going through the stadium as the Gold and Blue faithful wanted to see him score in his last home game. And the senior did not disappoint. Austin plowed in from one yard out, Bitancurt added the PAT and the score stood at 52-7 after three quarters of play.
The fourth quarter saw the Mountaineer reserves get to play. Kansas kicked a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth to make the 52-10. Then, with 5:13 to go in the game. sophomore Dustin Garrison broke off a huge run of 26 yards into the Promised Land and Bitancurt tacked on the bonus boot for the final points of the game.
WVU made 32 first downs to 13 for the Jayhawks. Both teams fumbled once and recovered their own fumbles. WVU punted just once and Kansas punted six times. Kansas held the edge in time of possession, 31:19 to WVU’s 28:41. Kansas was penalized eight times for 70 yards while WVU was penalized just three times for 30 yards.
Andrew Buie lead the Mountaineers in rushing with 12 carries for 100 yards and one TD. Austin carried the ball 12 times for 77 yards and a score. Alston toted 10 times for 40 yards while Garrison made four carries for 30 yards.
Smith lead the Gold and Blue in passing with 23-24 for 407 yards and three TDs. At one point during the game, he set a school record for 21 consecutive completions. Bailey caught 11 passes for 159 yards and two scores and Austin had four catches for 110 yards. Woods made four catches for 83 yards and a score while Buie had two catches for 57 yards.
With the win, WVU ended the season with a 7-5 record and (4-5 in the Big 12) to earn a trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. That contest, scheduled for Yankee Stadium, will pit the Mountaineers against an old Big East rival, Syracuse, at 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 29.