MORGANTOWN -- When Geno Smith sat in the film room and studied the Bowling Green defense from the season's first couple games, he saw a low-risk defense with a secondary that played a bunch of zone and cornerbacks and safeties who kept their eyes on the quarterback.
When the West Virginia quarterback stood in the shotgun and studied the Falcons in Saturday's 55-10 victory, Smith saw the secondary playing man-to-man and subjecting themselves to more risk than they were accustomed to.
The explanation: Smith's 65 pass attempts and 463 yards passing the week before against LSU.
"They were keying on our pass," Smith said after going 18-for-30 for 238 yards and three touchdowns. "They were trying to match up with our receivers and play a lot of nickel coverage with our four- and five-receiver sets.
"When we'd bring our two-back sets in, they'd bring in an extra linebacker and drop their safety down to cover."
The Mountaineers, who jumped to No. 16 in the Associated Press poll, responded by running the ball 43 times with three running backs for 359 yards. Freshman Dustin Garrison set the school's freshman record with 291 yards. He averaged 9.1 yards per carry and scored twice a week after Smith set school records for passing attempts, completions and yards against the Tigers.
Smith wasn't exactly harnessed. He threw a touchdown pass in an eighth consecutive game and had a 100-yard receiver - this time Stedman Bailey, who had four catches for 112 yards - for a third straight game. WVU has seven 100-yard receivers this season.
"This was a lot easier," Smith said.
WVU ended up with a Mountaineer Field-record 643 yards of offense. Considering what Garrison and the sudden running game did to the Bowling Green defense, WVU is eager to see how Connecticut (2-3) responds in the Saturday's noon game at Mountaineer Field. It's the Big East opener for both teams.
WVU rose from No. 115 nationally in rushing offense (76.5 yards per game) to No. 76 (133.2), but the Huskies are No. 8 against the run (75.2).
"Evaluating those games is going to be tough for them," inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson said. "It'll be interesting to see how they come out play now that we've shown we do have a running game."
Garrison had 85 yards in the first quarter and 148 more in the second quarter as the Falcons (3-2) tried to figure out what to do with themselves and what to do with Smith and Garrison.