Cool Hand Geno

  • By Tony Caridi
  • |
  • September 14, 2010 10:11 AM
  • |
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The number seven has a significance about it that most other numbers probably envy.

You know seven right? Biblically the number seven represents completeness and perfection. In a casino it represents something not quite biblical but quite good for those throwing dice. Suffice it to say, the number seven is special for a myriad of reasons.

All of this leads to Friday night’s game between West Virginia and Marshall. Did you catch the magic of number seven? I’m not talking about Noel Devine, but rather the seventh game in the collegiate career of WVU quarterback Geno Smith. The precocious sophomore merely threw for 316 yards and a touchdown in leading WVU to one of the most dramatic comeback victories in school history.

When Smith calmly guided the Mountaineers on successive drives of 96 and 98 yards in the game’s final eight minutes, topping it off with a two-point conversion to tie the game like placing a cherry on top of a perfectly constructed sundae, he galvanized himself as the unquestioned Alpha Dog of West Virginia University offense.

Ok, so what’s this have to do with the number seven? Well, let’s do a little historical research shall we?

A year ago Geno Smith appeared in five games, making minor appearances in three of those and playing a lead role in two (Marshall and Florida State) when Jarrett Brown was injured. The season opener against Coastal Carolina was Smith’s sixth collegiate game with last Friday’s contest obviously being his seventh career appearance.

Let’s jump in our Gold and Blue Back To The Future mobile circa 2005. A quarterback named Pat White is playing caddy for quarterback Adam Bednarik. White plays a limited roll in games against Syracuse, Wofford, Maryland, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Rutgers. White showed occasional flashes of promise, but nothing that would foreshadow what occurred in his seventh game as a Mountaineer.

Trailing 24-7 going into the fourth quarter White replaces an injured Bednarik and leads WVU to a comeback victory. Forget about rescuing his team from the jaws of defeat, the Mountaineers had already been ingested and were in the process of being digested by the Cards. White’s legs and ultimately his two-point conversion pass won the game.

The obvious commonality of White and Smith’s game seven exploits is that they led their teams back from obvious defeat to eventually win in overtime. However, in doing so both displayed a cold, calculated cool that only the great ones possess. There were no histrionics or chest pounding, not a single, “Hey, look at me everybody!”

Those performances produce a confidence and chemistry on a football team that is invaluable and pay dividends long after that game is complete.

I look forward to Geno Smith’s eighth college game on Saturday; in fact, I’m looking forward to watching him play for many years to come.