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Keys to Victory: The WVU Plan Against Baylor Should Be to Not Beat Yourself



WVU Football HC Neal Brown

Most projected this WVU football season to be a complete disaster, but it will end in a bowl game no matter what. And while that’s a plus by itself, there’s still pressure on Neal Brown and the Mountaineers to finish the season strong.

To officially cap off the regular season on a high note, West Virginia needs to not only defeat the struggling Baylor Bears, but do so convincingly. However, Brown does know WVU can’t afford to overlook anybody.

How can WVU ensure victory and reach eight wins on the year?

Playing Smart Should Lead to Easy WVU Win

Baylor only has pride left to play for, but that doesn’t mean pride can’t help lead them to an upset win. One way to avoid that from happening is to play smart.

When Garrett Greene is playing smart football and just letting the game come to him, the Mountaineers often have a chance to beat anyone. That’s why his head coach called him the “ultimate competitor” recently.

Garrett Greene Explains What Being Called the ‘Ultimate Competitor’ Means to Him

However, when he tries to do too much, his team is vulnerable. If Greene and company can avoid costly errors, in particular turnovers, the offense should be able to put up enough on the scoreboard to counteract anything Baylor can do with a backup quarterback against the WVU defense.

Generate Pass Rush Against Backup QB

By all indications, Baylor will have to look to a backup quarterback in their final game of a disappointing season. This should spell doomsday for the Bears, especially since Blake Shapen has been a rare bright spot for Baylor despite their 3-8 record, and allow the Mountaineers to coast to an easy win. Oddsmakers agree, moving the spread all the way to 10.5 in favor of WVU.

With all of that said, nothing is ever a guarantee and upsets do happen. In fact, WVU coaches and players still bring up how they can’t get over the fact they already have one loss to a bad conference team on the road.

But with Shapen out, there’s one thing West Virginia’s defense can do that usually causes any backup quarterback problems – generate a pass rush. Get to the quarterback and reduce the time he has to make decisions. Do this effectively and it will likely lead to mistakes.

It’s very possible this matchup ends up looking similar to the BYU game when the Cougars had to go without Kedon Slovis – a big win for WVU.

But to be Honest…

I could go on and on about establishing the run game, but that’s always a key and a necessity for West Virginia. There’s even the possibility of another monster game from freshman Jahiem White.

Former NFL MVP Honors WVU RB Jahiem White

I could bring up the battle of the trenches, but that goes without saying and the offensive line is usually able to compete with any defensive unit. I would have brought up the secondary needing to be on their game, but that’s less likely to matter without Shapen.

WVU Just Needs to Win

Point is WVU should be able to win pretty comfortably. Baylor has lost four in a row and five out of their last six games. Their only win during that stretch was squeaking by Cincinnati, a team West Virginia just handled easily in Morgantown last week.

Despite having to embark on the difficult trip to Waco, Texas, Baylor is an ideal opponent for Neal Brown’s team to end their season with. Get the win, lock up an 8-4 season and then try to earn a trophy of some kind in the bowl game. That has to be WVU’s mindset.

A loss would surely squash any of the good vibes gained after beating the Bearcats and create a funk before the bowl. This just can’t happen if Brown wants to sell fans on trusting his climb, a climb that is almost undoubtedly destined to extend itself to 2024.

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