The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 8, 2012

W. Virginia hurting for defense

AUSTIN, Texas — West Virginia is off to a blistering start in its first Big 12 season, piling up points behind quarterback Geno Smith.

But if the No. 5 Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0) want to win the league and even challenge for a national title, they may have to eventually start playing some defense.

West Virginia has torched Baylor and Texas for 118 points the last two weeks, but also surrendered 108 in two wild, heart-pounding games.

Smith doesn’t seem to care, so long as he can keep pushing the Mountaineers in to the end zone. Smith has 12 touchdown passes the last two weeks, with 24 on the season without an interception.

“We play as a team, we fight as a team. No matter what it takes to win the game, that’s what we’re going to do,” Smith said after throwing for 268 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-45 win over No. 15 Texas that wasn’t secured until the Mountaineers recovered an onside kick with 14 seconds to play.

Smith may have to be at his best every game the rest of the way. The Mountaineers still have to play No. 13 Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, which has the No. 1 total offense and scoring offense in the country, and No. 6 Kansas State, which has topped 50 points three times this season.

The Mountaineers rank No. 102 in total defense and scoring defense and surrender an average of 35 points per game.

Cornerback Pat Miller said it was difficult for the defense to shake off giving up 63 points to Baylor while preparing for Texas.

“It was a tough week mentally because it’s hard to bounce back from a game like that. There were a lot of people criticizing me personally. But you know, we just feed off that,” Carter said.

West Virginia’s defense did make a couple of big plays to help get a huge road win at Texas.

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