Through the first quarter of the season, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was the clear Heisman Trophy favorite and potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick. Things have changed.
Smith is 13 of 20 for 172 yards and two touchdowns and has yet to show any sign of packing it in, so we should be careful not to blame West Virginia's struggles solely on him. A hand from his offensive line and defense would've been appreciated.
Onlookers often overrate the effect a bowl game will have on a prospect's draft stock, but this Pinstripe Bowl has served as a microcosm of sorts for West Virginia's standing during the season. With two safeties, including the one above, plus a fumble lost and a big deficit in the fourth quarter, Smith's final college football showing is going about as poorly as it could and worse than just about anybody envisioned.
On this one, his attempt to evacuate the ball from the end zone was ruled intentional grounding. He was very much in Syracuse hands and was thus unable to get the ball past the line of scrimmage. His first safety came when he was surrounded in the back of the end zone while taking a very deep dropback.
There's still time, but a 21-point hole against an offense that's clicking on the ground (324 yards rushing for Syracuse) is going to be very, very hard for a finesse attack to overcome.
We'll still remember you fondly, Geno.
Look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.