WVU football: FedEx turnout gives Mountaineers, JMU surprise revenue
LANDOVER, Md. -- Attendance at West Virginia's 42-12 victory against James Madison Saturday was 45,511 - a greater number than expected - which generated revenue neither team was anticipating.
Late last week estimates were about 35,000 after WVU sold and distributed about 10,500 tickets. The Dukes accounted for approximately 8,000. Yet the game contract with Russ Potts Promotions, owned and operated by the former SMU athletic director and Virginia state senator, included sales incentives for both schools.
WVU (2-0), which moved up to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll Sunday, made $7.50 for each of the tickets above 45,000, which comes out to $3,832.50 on top of the $2.3 million the Mountaineers were guaranteed. The Dukes (2-1) made $10 for every ticket above 42,500, which comes out to $30,110 on top of the $350,000 they were guaranteed.
Both guarantees came from the game's promoter.
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WVU RECEIVER Stedman Bailey had 173 yards receiving on a school-record 13 receptions, and three touchdowns. His yardage was the second-best of his career and his ninth 100-yard game. Bailey is tied with David Saunders for most 100-yard games in school history.
Bailey also had a tackle on a kickoff in the third quarter.
"He's a good safety guy," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We'll take him off offense before we take him off special teams. We tell all our guys that. Every starter we have is going to be on at least one of them. Most are going to be on two."
Bailey and Tavon Austin are WVU's main kickoff returners and Bailey returned one for 19 yards against the Dukes.
"That shouldn't be too much to handle," Holgorsen said. "If it is, we'll take some of his reps off of offense."
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TAKING OFFENSIVE reps off Bailey would be a blow to the offense. Bailey has 22 receptions for 277 yards and five touchdowns and leads the country with 11 receptions and 138.5 receiving yards per game. His 15 points per game is second only to Air Force running back Cody Getz.
Bailey has 21 career touchdown receptions and needs three to pass Cedric Thomas and set the school record.
Teammate Tavon Austin, who had 10 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown against JMU, is No. 2 nationally with 10.5 receptions per game.
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QUARTERBACK Geno Smith has 8,191 career passing yards, moving past Marc Bulger and into first place on the school's all-time list. With two more completions, Smith will pass Bulger and move into first place on the career completion list.
Bulger completed 1,022 passes in his career.
Smith was 34-for-39 for 411 yards and five touchdowns against JMU. He has as many touchdowns (9) as incompletions (9) and hasn't thrown an interception. Nationally, Smith is No. 2 in passer efficiency behind TCU's Casey Pachall and No. 2 in total offense, with 408.5 yards per game. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato leads the country with 422.67 yards per game.
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AS A FRESHMAN last season, running back Andrew Buie had just 257 combined yards rushing and receiving and never more than the 77 in one game - and contributed that to the Orange Bowl romp only because running back Dustin Garrison was out injured.
Buie has gone over 100 combined yards in both games this season after rushing for 31 yards and catching four passes for a career-high 90 yards against JMU.
He rushed for 80 and had 31 yards receiving against Marshall, plus 24 yards on kickoff returns.
"Buie's maturing," Smith said. "He was a freshman last year and he's a sophomore now, so he's had a full year in the weight room. He's a very good all-around back and we can use him in multiple ways like the ways we use Shawne Alston and Ryan Clarke.
"He helps the offense when we go tempo or when we go from a spread to a power set because it's usually the same guys for us. Defensive coordinators hate that because they have to run guys off the field and it ends up as a busted play or a penalty."
Buie was used like that early against the Dukes, who had two substitution penalties. James Madison also had one play where it was caught subbing two players as Smith threw a touchdown pass to Bailey.
Buie is No. 47 nationally with 128 all-purpose yards per game. Bailey is No. 19 (156.5) and Austin, who led the country with 198 yards per game last season, is No. 22 (154). No other school has three players in the top 50 and only UCLA and Oklahoma have three top-100 players.
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REDSHIRT FRESHMAN Dante Campbell caught a 4-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
The 6-foot-4 Campbell checked into the game as an inside receiver on first-and-goal at the JMU 3-yard line. After Alston lost a yard, Campbell slipped between defenders and Smith found him.
It was the second straight week a receiver's first career reception was a touchdown. Redshirt freshman outside receiver K.J. Myers did the same against Marshall.
Sophomore inside receiver Connor Arlia could have joined the club in the third quarter against JMU when he ran a post route uncovered into the end zone, but Smith instead threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Bailey.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.