"We knew who those guys were - they're pretty good coming off the edge," Holgorsen said. "We were conscious of that and we didn't do (deep passes) very much, but we were successful in what we were doing."
Smith was 25-for-35 for 268 yards and four touchdowns. The challenge was much different a week later against Texas Tech, which didn't blitz nearly as often as Texas, but caused problems by playing tight coverage and forcing Smith to be very sharp.
"Geno was not accurate down the field," Holgorsen said. "We went down the field six or eight times and we weren't successful, which was the main reason they were successful."
The Red Raiders set out to stop WVU's run and quick pass games and force long yardage situations on second and third down.
"They were begging us to throw it deep, but we didn't do a very good job with it," Spavital said. "We had opportunities. They never took it away from us. It comes down to a mindset. The kids have to realize when they get man-to-man, they've got to get open."
Smith finished 29-for-55 for 275 yards and a touchdown and then was part of the lowest passing output any Holgorsen team has ever had in his 13 seasons as a Division I coach. Kansas State limited WVU to just 155 yards passing and Smith was only 21-for-32 for 143 yards, one touchdown and his first two interceptions of the season.
The Wildcats did a bit of what both Texas and Texas Tech did. They pressured Smith and covered receivers, though with a different style as both safeties stayed deep. WVU again could not counter.
"Their pass rush was pretty good," Holgorsen said. "They were rotating a lot of guys and they were athletic. There wasn't a specific guy we were scared of, just a collection of them. They did a good job of getting to us, but their corner coverage was off. The coverage was off and we should have done a better job of completing the ball underneath than we did."
TCU has allowed 19 pass plays of 25 yards or more and five came in Saturday's 36-14 loss to Oklahoma State. Kansas and Iowa State, the conference's worst passing offenses, had success with the Jayhawks passing for 303 yards and the Cyclones getting 15.2 yards per attempt and four touchdowns. TCU's last three opponents - Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State - have each passed for 300 yards and averaged 15.4 yards per completion.
"They do a mixture of what we've seen from Kansas State, which kind of mixes it up, and Texas Tech, which will come out and man you up," Spavital said. "We need to get in a rhythm because we're most dangerous when we're moving the ball, but we need to get to the point where we're throwing down the field again and see if we can make something happen there."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.