On a gorgeous afternoon at FedEx Field, barely a Geno Smith out-route away from the nation’s capital, West Virginia defeated James Madison 42-12. A look at the best and worst from Saturday:
Best way to spend the fourth quarter: If you’re Geno Smith, it was on the sideline, where for the second consecutive game he watched the backups mop up.
Worst luck for an underdog: JMU losing receiver Daniel Brown to a leg injury on the opening play. This after the Dukes ruled out top running back Dae’Quan Scott (ankle) during pregame.
Worst coverage: JMU ignoring Stedman Bailey on his 3-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
Worst foot-on-ball moment: WVU’s Corey Smith shanking his lone punt of the first half, resulting in a 24-yarder that set up JMU’s only scoring drive of the half.
Best connection: Smith to Bailey … over and over and over. They hooked up 13 times in all.
Best thump: WVU freshman safety Karl Joseph stopping Ryan Dixon cold after the JMU receiver caught a crossing route.
Worst power run, part I: The West Virginia offensive line not generating enough push as Shawne Alston was stopped on fourth-and-2 from the JMU 49.
Worst power run, part II: Alston getting dropped for a safety as he scooted laterally along the goal line.
Best milestone: Smith passing Marc Bulger for the top spot on WVU’s career passing yardage list. A 30-yard completion to Andrew Buie late in the third quarter gave Smith the record. He now has 8,191 yards ahead of Bulger old benchmark 8,153.
Best goal-line stand, part I: Mountaineers safety Darwin Cook clotheslining JMU’s Jordan Anderson on fourth-and-goal after cornerback Pat Miller strung out the play.
Best goal-line stand, part II: Tyler Anderson grabbing an interception off a tipped pass by Miller and JMU receiver Arlandis Harvey.
Best reason not to play an FCS opponent at a neutral site: The half-full confines of FedEx Field. There won’t be nearly as many empties for West Virginia vs. BYU in 2016.