Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/23/12

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 20: Geno Smith of the West Virginia Mountaineers throws a pass during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
It has been awhile since we’ve seen Geno Smith smile — probably since Oct. 6 when he was enjoying a West Virginia win in Austin against Texas. After the Mountaineers ended a five-game losing skid and finally became bowl eligible by holding off Iowa State in Ames 31-24 on Friday, Smith was able to crack a smile as he was shaking hands with the Cyclones. It’s a far cry from the lofty preseason predictions, but WVU really needed this win as the Mountaineers have struggled in their first year in the Big 12. The struggles have mainly been on defense, but even that unit had some moments against ISU. The biggest play came late in the fourth quarter with Iowa State on the WVU 7. Turning to their trusted back, Jeff Woody coughed up the football on a big hit from Darwin Cook. West Virginia’s offense kept the ball on the ground and ran off the final 3:55. The loss was a tough pill for Iowa State, who played well behind freshman quarterback Sam Richardson. On a windy day at Jack Trice Stadium, Richardson found success running the ball. The Cyclones are enjoying another solid season under likeable coach Paul Rhodes, but like every year they seem to lose a game that could make a good season great. Now WVU has a chance to get to 7-5 and probably earn a spot in the San Diego Holiday Bowl. If it all works out, the Mountaineers could get to eight victories — a far cry from those national championship predictions, but actually a realistic finish. Of course, the Mountaineers must win the season finale against Kansas — the Big 12 cellar dweller. It seems like a no-brainer, but no one would have ever predicted the five-game losing streak that included winnable games with TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The easiest way to say it is WVU is too undisciplined on both sides of the ball. Even in Friday’s game, the Mountaineers tried to give it away. WVU was penalized for more than 100 yards, including stupid personal fouls that kept the defense on the field longer. As bad as the Mountaineers have played this season, giving a team an additional 100 yards is not going to translate well. WVU defense looked better, but still collapsed at key times, including a late first-half drive by Iowa State that allowed the Cyclones to go into the half down 17-14. The Mountaineers were aided by the return of Shawne Alston at running back, another solid performance by Tavon Austin (including the game-winning touchdown) and the improving play of freshman safety Karl Joseph. With all of the big games on the weekend slate, you’d be hard pressed to find the average college football fan watching this one or even talking about this one after it was over. But it’s safe to say Smith and the rest of the Mountaineers are happy to tell anyone who will listen what it was like to get that sixth win.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Don Orsillo reportedly asked to lie about being fired by NESN

Matt Cassel believes Bills will keep three quarterbacks

St. Louis police seize scalpers' World Series tickets to give to friends

Eli Manning happy Tom Brady will play NFL season opener

Phil Kessel has shed 13 pounds this summer

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

Bill Belichick on having Tom Brady back: ‘He never left’

WATCH: Ben Revere gifted Matt Wieters a home run

Judge Sarah Thomas as an NFL official, not a female NFL official

Simona Halep popular with fans who want to kiss her

Patriots planned on raising a "Brady banner on opening night

Braves and Phillies sucking at the same time is rare

Montana St. linebacker delivers bone crushing hit in opener

Despite loss, all eyes still on Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines

Kirk Cousins discusses what it’s like to be called ‘Kurt’

Playoffs or not, Bryce Harper is the NL MVP

Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly seeking alimony

Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler: A love/hate relationship

Likely scenarios for current MLB front-office vacancies

Seven takeaways from Eagles final preseason game

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker