West Virginia Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

West Virginia Mountaineers
Big 12


Monday, October 8, everyone outside of the state of West Virginia was jealous. Not because of how beautiful the state is; very few outside of West Virginia actually want to set foot inside the state. They were jealous of their football team. WVU was one of the best teams in the country. They also had the most exciting player in the country in quarterback Geno Smith. Things were looking up. Then, the rest of autumn happened. The Mountaineers lost five straight ball games starting October 13 against Texas Tech. They went from National Championship hopefuls to not having yet gained bowl eligibility until their sixth win came a week later. Things were not looking so hot anymore.

2012 Record: 7-5, 4-5
Coach: Dana Holgorsen
Coach Bowl Record: 1-0

Big Wins: 9/29 Baylor (70-63), 10/6 at Texas (48-45)
Bad Losses: 10/13 at Texas Tech (14-49), 11/3 TCU (38-39)

Even with the second half swoon, West Virginia was a powerful offensive team all year long. In their quintet of losses, they still had games of 38, 34 and 49 points. They ended the season as one of the very best passing and scoring teams in the country. Quarterback Geno Smith finished with superb numbers. He went six weeks before he even threw an interception. After the first five weeks especially, Smith’s numbers were so good, it seemed a lock he would win the Heisman Trophy no matter how many losses the Mountaineers finished with, a la Robert Griffin III a year ago. However, the touchdowns slowed from historic to simply good and the interceptions picked up. Smith then went from Heisman guarantee to complete afterthought but his season totals were still very impressive. And most of his yardage and TD passes went to two men: Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. The two wide receivers might be the best pair of wide outs on a team outside of southern California. They remarkably combined for over 2,700 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns. Smith’s noteworthy start to the year also helped West Virginia limit mistakes and end with a positive turnover differential. It was a necessity that WVU’s offense hold on to the football and score each possession because of how awful they were on the other side of the ball.

For a team who scored 40 points per contest, it seems nearly impossible that they could have allowed more points than they scored but that is just what West Virginia managed. They allowed more than 30 points in eight different games. They allowed 50+ in four games, including one of their victories (that epic September 29 game against Baylor). Along with scoring defense, the Mountaineers also finished outside the top 100 in the nation in passing defense, total defense, pass efficiency defense and net punting. This team had so many huge holes, it is notable thinking back to how good everyone thought they were after the first month and a half of the season. While Geno Smith tended to put up a historic afternoon every Saturday, so did the opposing quarterback against his team’s defense. West Virginia had one of the more unbalanced teams in the country as far as strengths versus weaknesses. While some teams are able to have strong showings some weeks in what they are poor at, and vice versa, West Virginia was incredibly consistent at what they did well and what they did terribly.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Andrew Buie, RB, 817 yards
Passing: Geno Smith, QB, 4,004 yards
Receiving: Stedman Bailey, WR, 1,501 yards
Tackles: Karl Joseph, S, 95
Sacks: Josh Francis, LB, 4.5
Interceptions: Karl Joseph, S, 2

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 171.91 (51st in Nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 334.91 (6, 4)
Total Offense: 506.82 (11, 4)
Scoring Offense: 40.00 (14, 5)
Rushing Defense: 141.18 (40, 4)
Pass Defense: 346.18 (120, 10)
Total Defense: 487.36 (117, 9)
Scoring Defense: 40.64 (117, 10)
Turnover Margin: .55 (34, 2)
Sacks: 1.91 (68, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.55 (42, 7)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2011    Orange Bowl            Clemson (70-33)
2010    Champs Sports Bowl        North Carolina State (7-23)
2009    Gator Bowl            Florida State (21-33)
2008    Car Care of Texas Bowl    North Carolina (31-30)
2007    Fiesta Bowl            Oklahoma (48-28)

*all team stats through 11/24


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