Players to watch – West Virginia

Matt Warden

Geno Smith, Senior QB #12

As West Virginia’s week 5 victory over Baylor verified, Smith is the Heisman frontrunner and the main player that Texas needs to watch out for this Saturday. Against Baylor, Smith racked up a stat line that every quarterback, and West Virginia’s shaky defense for that matter, dreams of. Completing 88 percent of his 51 passes thrown, Smith compiled 656 passing yards to go along with eight touchdowns. By only carrying the ball five times for 31 yards in that same game, Smith is proving to all of his doubters that he is committed to becoming a true pocket passer. Through four games, Smith has completed a staggering 83 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,728 yards and 20 touchdowns. For those keeping count at home, that’s an average of five touchdown passes per game. Entering the year everyone knew about Smith’s running ability as he is equally dangerous carrying the football. Although he only has 99 rushing yards this season, the Longhorns should beware of his legs if the pocket breaks down. Geno Smith is a guy who can do it all and will be a tough matchup for the Texas defense.

Stedman Bailey, Junior WR #3

The leading receiver for the Mountaineers so far this season, Bailey has emerged as a favorite target for the prolific Geno Smith. In the Baylor win, the junior receiver accounted for 305 yards and five of Smith’s eight touchdown passes. He has amassed over 600 yards and had 10 touchdown catches overall this season. At a diminutive 5-foot-10 and 188 pounds, Bailey has proven to be an excellent route runner which allows him to get open for big plays. He has shown a tremendous efficiency in racking up yards after the catch this season, as he currently averages 15.5 yards per reception. When he gets open he makes catches, and when he makes catches he scores points for the squad as evidenced by his three multiple-touchdown games so far this season. Due to his size, the Longhorns should look to bump Bailey at the line to keep his precise route running from burning them.

Terence Garvin, Senior LB #28

On a defense that currently ranks No. 96 in points allowed, Terence Garvin is a guy that really sticks out. Through four games the senior linebacker has made 31 total tackles to go along with four sacks. As he only amassed 3.5 sacks all of last season, Garvin has already shown an improvement in his rushing ability this year. More of a cover defender than a rusher, the quick linebacker has the ability to make plays if the ball is turned over into his hands. He passes the eye test for defenders, coming in at 6-foot-3 and 223 pounds and is a guy that Texas should look to contain on the edge. If the Longhorns’ blocking breaks down expect to see Garvin become a bit of a terror in the backfield in this game.