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WVU’s Defensive Line was Terrifying Versus Baylor



Even without costumes, WVU’s defensive line was absolutely terrifying on Halloween.

Led by the brotherly duo of Darius and Dante Stills, WVU’s defense sacked Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer eight times en route to a close 17-14 defeat.

“I thought our defensive line just played really hard,” head coach Neal Brown said after the game. “They really put pressure on Charlie all night.”

Even in the midst of a losing streak, WVU’s defense was not short on confidence Thursday night. During the first quarter of the ESPN broadcast, sideline reporter Holly McGrath reported that Darius told her to report that Baylor was “soft up front”.

Darius played up to his big talk, tallying three sacks on Brewer throughout the night. Darius finished second on the team in total tackles with 10, eights of which were solo tackles.

“My plays I make, they’re not just me,” Darius said. “They’re Jeff Pooler, Reuben Jones helping me out, disguising the plays that help me get through the gaps. I always give them credit for that and I appreciate them for that. Making the plays really don’t feel as good when you lose. A win would’ve made them feel way better.”

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said he was wary of Darius coming into the game, rightfully so.

“Stills, 56, is one of the best players we’ve played against,” Rhule said. “He’s everything I thought he was going to be and 55, his brother, lights out. He does it against everybody and I love him.”

To go along with Darius’ three sacks, Dante added two of his own. Defensive backs Sean Mahone and Tykee Smith and linebacker Dylan Tonkery chipped in one each.

On each of Baylor’s first three drives, the Mountaineer defense was able to sack Brewer, all leading to punts.

As the night wore on Darius’ claim seemed more and more believable. Along with the eight sacks, West Virginia held Baylor to 3.1 yards per carry. The Bears totaled 176 rushing yards but carried the ball 56 times.

“I thought it was a tremendous defensive effort,” Brown said. “They gave us a chance, I thought that was the story of the game.”

The biggest plays of the night for the Mountaineer front seven came with three minutes left in the first half with Baylor at WVU’s three-yard line. Baylor attempted four straight runs, all stuffed by the West Virginia defense to keep the Bears from increasing their 7-0 lead.

“That really, I feel like, gave us a lot of confidence,” Darius said. “The defense really showed up that drive and that goalline stand really put a lot of confidence in us. We’re a really good defense and over time we’re just going to get better and better.”

“That’s how we should play, every down, every snap, every game,” senior lineman Reese Donahue said. “Now we know what he can do and that’s how we should play every game.”

Donahue, who had three tackles and swatted a pass in the game, said a performance like this, against the No. 12 team in the nation, is the new standard for the defense to play to.

“Now we’ve set the standard,” Donahue said. “This wasn’t an up game, this is what the standard need to be now. Now it’s about continuing on and continuing to play at that level.”

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