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Smith throws for 8 TD's as No. 9 WVU wins shootout with Baylor

Sep 29, 2012 - 8:55 PM Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Geno Smith had a record-breaking performance in West Virginia's Big 12 debut.

Smith set school marks with eye-popping totals of 656 passing yards and eight touchdown throws as the ninth-ranked Mountaineers prevailed, 70-63, in a shootout with the No. 25 Baylor Bears.

The Heisman Trophy candidate ended with a school-best 45 completions on 51 attempts for the Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Big 12).

Nick Florence was equally impressive for Baylor (3-1, 0-1), throwing for 581 yards and five touchdowns.

But it wasn't enough for the Bears, who had their winning streak snapped at nine games.

The Mountaineers scored a touchdown on each of their first three drives in the second half to build a 56-35 lead.

Smith and Tavon Austin connected on scoring strikes of 45 and 52 yards before the Bears' Aaron Jones missed a 46-yard field goal. Baylor had gone three-and- out on its first second-half possession, an anomaly in this offensive showcase.

On West Virginia's next series, Smith heaved a perfectly placed deep ball to Stedman Bailey, who made the catch in stride for a 47-yard gain. The downfield strike set up a 1-yard plunge by Andrew Buie.

Florence countered with a 37-yard TD pass to Terrance Williams, and the Baylor quarterback added a short TD run 46 seconds into the fourth quarter.

However, the Bears' momentum was immediately quelled because of a blown coverage that led to Smith finding an uncovered Bailey for an 87-yard touchdown on the first play of the ensuing drive.

Florence responded by capping an 86-yard march with a 7-yard TD pass to Antwan Goodley, but Bailey answered with his fifth touchdown -- a 39-yard reception -- on the subsequent West Virginia series.

Baylor refused to go away quietly as Williams finished off a 10-play drive with an 8-yard grab in the end zone with 3:08 to play.

Dustin Garrison, though, ran for 17 yards on third down and the Mountaineers ran out the clock.

Florence's first pass attempt went through the hands of Tevin Reese and was picked off by Darwin Cook. His next throw, following a missed 50-yard field goal by West Virginia's Tyler Bitancurt, to Williams resulted in a 50-yard gain that set Baylor up at the Mountaineers' 14-yard line. The Bears then reached the end zone after three consecutive runs by Jarred Salubi.

After trading scores, West Virginia tied the game at 14-14 on J.D. Woods' 7- yard touchdown reception with 42 seconds remaining in a high-paced first quarter.

It's hard to believe the pace actually quickened in the second quarter as the teams combined for 42 points. Smith threw touchdown passes of 47, 20 and two yards to Bailey, the last of which came with 29 seconds remaining and gave West Virginia a 35-28 lead.

But that was more than enough time for Florence, who hooked up with Lanear Sampson for a 67-yard scoring strike on the final play of the first half. If not for Jones pushing a 33-yard field wide right earlier in the second quarter, Baylor would have led at halftime.

Game Notes

The teams combined for 1,507 yards of offense ... Bailey had 303 yards on 13 receptions, while Austin caught 14 passes for 215 yards ... Bailey became West Virginia's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 26 ... Austin passed David Saunders to become the Mountaineers' all-time leader in receiving yards with 2,684 ... Florence connected on 29 of his 47 passes ... Williams set school records with 17 catches and 314 receiving yards ... Glasco Martin had two rushing touchdowns for Baylor ... Baylor registered 34 first downs, one more than the Mountaineers ... West Virginia was 12-for-15 on third down conversions, compared to Baylor's 11-of-16 success rate.