Geno Smith separates from fellow Heisman hopefuls with historic day
Geno Smith's Week 5 line seems like the kind of statistical assault a teenager would deliver with an Xbox controller in hand. But Smith's 656-yard, eight-touchdown day was a reality -- and one that furthers his lead in the Heisman Trophy race.
Smith is on pace to post staggering numbers: 5,184 passing yards, which would rank sixth behind 1990 Heisman winner Ty Detmer's 5,188 on the single-season list, and 60 touchdowns, which would best the record of 58 set by Colt Brennan in 2006.
Heisman history, though, hasn't been kind to the most prolific passers in the years since Andre Ware won in 1989 behind 4,699 passing yards and Detmer won a season later. Only one player who has thrown for at least 4,700 yards -- Sam Bradford, who threw for 4,720 in 2008 -- has won the Heisman since. B.J. Symons (5,833 yards in 2003) finished 10th in voting, while Graham Harrell (5,705 in '07) didn't make the top 10, Case Keenum (5,671 yards in '09 and 5,631 in '11) finished eighth and seventh, respectively, and Colt Brennan (5,549 in '06) finished sixth.
Like those players, Smith is on a team with a defense that's struggling to slow down opponents. None of those passers, including Bradford, was supported by a defense that ranked better than 45th nationally; the Mountaineers currently rank 106th. That's unlikely to improve, as West Virginia faces upcoming matchups with four offenses that are 19th or better in scoring, including Texas (ninth) and Oklahoma State (first).
The question with Smith isn't whether he'll post Heisman-worthy numbers. It's whether those ridiculous numbers can continue to make up for West Virginia's defensive deficiencies and keep the Mountaineers from dropping games that could hurt his case.
Now, on to this week's rankings, where Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell bows out and Texas' David Ash debuts. As a refresher,