Mountaineers Escape Baylor Comeback
|David V Sills||7||136||3|
The Mountaineers escape Waco, Texas with a win. West Virginia looked like they were going to cruise to a victory in the 3rd quarter but Baylor had other plans.
The first half was bland, but West Virginia seemed to gain control late in the 1st half when Will Grier and company went 80 yards in just a 1:04 and left 1 sec left on the clock taking a 17-6 lead into halftime.
Will Grier finished the first half going 15-19 for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns.
David Sills had 6 receptions for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns.
West Virginia would continue to stay hot, scoring on the first play of the second half. Will Grier would connect with David Sills for the third time for a 53-yard touchdown, extending their lead 24-6.
Baylor would respond two series later, with a 7-yard touchdown run from John Lovett, after a 56-yard pass to Gavin Holmes from Zach Smith, cutting into the West Virginia lead 24-13.
Marcus Simms would find the end zone, on a slant, using his spend to outrun the Baylor defenders for a 40-yard touchdown pass putting the Mountaineers up 31-13.
The Mountaineers looked to be in full control of the game after the DAWGS held Baylor to a three and out, then Will Grier and the offense would score another touchdown on a 6 play 80-yard drive, capped off with a Grier to Ka’Raun White 6-yard touchdown pass, with 2:47 left in the 3rd quarter.
West Virginia had all the momentum, the defense got off the field in just four plays and the offense was heading back out onto the field, but the Mountaineer offense looked stagnate and punted the ball away after just four plays.
The West Virginia defense had a good game plan against Baylor quarterback Zach Smith. They continued to put pressure on him all night and he could just never get into rhythm.
Baylor head coach would make a change at quarterback, bringing in true freshman Charlie Brewer and it sparked the Baylor offense with his mobility. On his first pass of the game, Brewer would complete a 52-yard touchdown pass to Trestan Ebner for 52 yards, cutting their deficit to 18, with 14:31 left in the game.
Kicker Jay Sedwick would catch the Mountaineers off guard with an onside kick and Baylor would recover. Just two plays later, Trestan Ebner would score another touchdown, this time on a 40-yard run. Baylor was right back in the game with 13:50 left in the game, trailing 38-27.
Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital could not find a pulse on offense, going three and out on the next series and now all the momentum was on Baylor’s side.
Baylor would put together a 13 play 69-yard drive in six minutes adding a field goal, making it just a one possession game, 38-30.
West Virginia had their last chance to put the game away with their offense and could not get it done. After getting a first down on just two running plays, then getting another 3 yards on first down on the ground, the offense would throw two straight incomplete passes, stopping the clock and giving Baylor the ball back with 4:34 left in the game.
Now it was up to the defense to hold Baylor out of the end zone after Baylor had just scored 17 straight points on the last three drives.
The defense couldn’t make the final stand and let the freshman quarterback drive 86 yards in 4:17 to give Baylor a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion. That’s where the DAWGS would make their stand and not let Baylor take the game to overtime, as Xavier Preston would get a sack when Brewer was searching for a receiver in the end zone, denying the Bears their first win of the season.
West Virginia would only finish with just 13 yards in the fourth quarter, which came as a surprise when the offense looked unstoppable, especially the Grier/Sills duo.
Once the Mountaineers had the 38-13 lead, they seemed to be just going through the motions, instead of keeping their foot on the accelerator, thus leaving the door open for the Baylor comeback.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the meltdown in the 4th quarter. In my opinion it came down to lack of energy and execution and if West Virginia wants to compete for the Big XII title, they must learn to put teams away.
West Virginia should have learned that lesson in Lawrence, Kansas when the Jayhawks made a comeback, but that lesson hasn’t seemed to sink in yet and have yet to put together a full game.
At the end of the day, it was a road conference win, at night, during homecoming and it keeps them alive for a birth in the Big XII Championship Game.
They need to correct the mistakes this week and prepare for a big match-up this Saturday at noon against at top 10 team in Oklahoma State.