MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- There is a reason the top three passers in college football today have all played for Dana Holgorsen. It's found in the evaluation the West Virginia football coach gave about Geno Smith's unprecedented performance against LSU.
The junior quarterback from Miramar, Fla., set school passing records with 38 completions, 65 attempts and 463 yards.
"He, for the most part, went where we wanted him to go with the ball," said the first-year coach, who tutored Houston's Case Keenum, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and now Smith, the leaders in NCAA passing yards.
Smith hasn't embraced the history. He's more interested in what he missed. He's only concerned with satisfying his coach's very high expectations. Smith didn't go home until long after the 47-21 loss to the Tigers and instead hung around the team headquarters to watch film.
When he was done and when the coaches took a look, they all agreed Smith actually left two big plays on the field. They weren't guaranteed touchdowns.
Something could have gone wrong with the throw or the reception. Getting one or both wouldn't necessarily give the Mountaineers the win.
That's not the point for Smith, though.
"There were a couple things I did in that game that were uncharacteristic," he said. "I made a few bad throws and a few bad decisions. But I'm over it and I'll try to progress from it."
His first shot at redemption comes in Saturday's game at Mountaineer Field against Bowling Green (3-1). ROOT Sports will televise the Homecoming game at 3:30 p.m.
The Mountaineers (3-1) had finally gotten past midfield in the second quarter after the previous 34 snaps by both offenses took plays in WVU territory. On a first-and-10 at the LSU 42-yard line, running back Dustin Garrison slipped out of the backfield and then sneaked behind a linebacker.
"I definitely thought I was catching a touchdown," the freshman said.
Smith never saw Garrison speed into an uncovered third of the field. He instead looked right and overthrew Devon Brown on a tricky pass across the field toward the sideline. Garrison slowed up around the 20 with no one near him. He turned around and hurried back to the line of scrimmage, but not before he saw Holgorsen and running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
"They were both holding their heads after seeing how open I was," Garrison said.
The coaches understood the error, one Smith doesn't make very often. The Mountaineers were playing with a quick tempo, but the Tigers were moving fast, too, and sent a blitzer through the middle.