Marquee Meeting

MORGANTOWN – Not only will Saturday’s football game mark the debut of West Virginia into the Big 12 Conference, but it will pit two of the nation’s top quarterbacks against each other in what promises to be a high-flying aerial circus.

The game has been chosen as the Marquee Matchup for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award by the fans on Facebook. Throughout the season, the fans will select one game as the best weekly matchup between the nation’s top quarterbacks.

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation’s best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. The Davey O’Brien Award honors candidates who exemplify Davey O’Brien’s enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics. The award is overseen by the Davey O’Brien Foundation, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, and has given away more than $850,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life.

West Virginia’s Geno Smith, who has already been tabbed as the Big 12 Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in the preseason, leads a Mountaineers offense averaging more than 47 points per game. Smith leads the conference and is second in the nation with an average of 357 passing yards per contest. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes in WVU’s first three games.

Baylor, which moved into the Top 25 this week after reeling off three straight victories to open the season, has not skipped a beat offensively, despite the loss of Davey O’Brien and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Nick Florence has taken control of the Bears helm as a senior and is leading the nation with 387 passing yards per game.

”We have to be prepared for a high-powered game,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. ”But if you think we are going to shut them down, you’re nuts. We have to have a short memory and forget about what may have happened on the last series or the last play.”

Baylor coach Art Briles said he, too, is not looking at the game as an old-fashioned shootout.

”You can’t look at it that way,” he said. ”We have to approach it like we are going to take care of business on all three sides of the football. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Kickoff for the game is set for noon, and it will be televised on the FX network. The game will also be West Virginia’s Homecoming.