Mountaineers Outlast 25th-Ranked Baylor

  • By John Antonik
  • |
  • September 29, 2012 02:03 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Welcome to the Big 12 Conference! Ninth-ranked West Virginia scored 70 points, and it needed every single one of them to defeat 25th-ranked Baylor, 70-63, in one of the wildest games in Mountaineer Field history.

Consider this:

- There were 19 combined touchdowns, and of those 19 scoring drives, 16 were accomplished in less than three minutes.

- The combined 133 points scored were three shy of the NCAA record of 136 produced by Navy and North Texas (74-62) in 2007. It was also the most combined points scored in a football game involving a West Virginia team.

- West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s 656 yards passing this afternoon were more than 17 TEAMS heading into this weekend’s action. Smith finished the game with a video-game-like 45-of-51 passing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns. Smith had two more TD passes than he did incomplete passes. "I thought Geno was exceptional, which he has been for the past few years," said Baylor coach Art Briles. "Today he certainly earned his cause for postseason awards."

-Stedman Bailey had a school-record 303 yards receiving and five touchdowns - and he wasn’t even the leading receiver in the game. That honor went to Baylor’s Terrance Williams, who sliced and diced West Virginia’s secondary to the tune of 314 yards on 17 receptions.

- There were six different receivers with more than 100 yards today and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, with 14 catches for 215 yards, would have owned the WVU school record for receiving yardage if not for Bailey’s game today.

- The two teams combined for 1,507 total yards – 807 on 88 plays from West Virginia and 700 on 92 plays from the Bears.

- The combined 1,237 passing yards today were 16 shy of an NCAA record.

- There were a combined 77 first downs.

- The two offenses combined to convert 23-of-31 third-down tries.

- It was the first time Coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense has produced more than 800 yards and it was the third time, dating back to the Orange Bowl that West Virginia has scored at least 10 touchdowns in a game (Clemson, Marshall and Baylor).

- Bears quarterback Nick Florence passed for 581 yards and five touchdowns – and his team lost.

There are likely many, many more records set today that have slipped through the cracks.

Yes, it was a wild afternoon in Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia.

“Not every Big 12 game is like this,” said Holgorsen. “Not every Big 12 offense is like this and not every game is going to be like this. It was a situation where both offenses were playing at a pretty high level.”

In the meantime, we will try and do our best to wrap our arms around all of the happenings surrounding today’s game.

Perhaps the most amazing stat of the game was the fact that the two teams ran a combined 180 plays and there was only one turnover – a Darwin Cook interception on the game’s second play – and West Virginia’s turnover stat line was completely clean. Another Baylor miscue early in the second half was overturned by the game’s replay official.

Baylor also benefited from the replay booth when it looked like Florence was beyond the line of scrimmage on the final play of the first half when he completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Lanear Sampson, who got behind freshman safety Karl Joseph.

“When there’s six or seven seconds left you can’t let that happen,” said Holgorsen. “We have young safeties. We have true freshmen back there. They made some mistakes and we have to get better. When you put guys in situations like that they’ll get better at that.”

Just 29 seconds earlier, West Virginia took its first lead of the game when Smith hooked up with Bailey on a 2-yard pass that culminated an eight-play, 84-yard drive.

Bailey’s other touchdown scores were of 47, 20, 87 and 39 yards.

Tavon Austin contributed touchdown catches of 45 and 52 yards, while J.D. Woods had a 7-yard scoring grab early in the first quarter. West Virginia’s other two scores came on the ground from Andrew Buie, who finished the game with 82 yards on 25 carries.

Baylor (3-1) got four touchdowns on the ground - two coming from Martin Glasco - and three different receivers caught scoring throws from Florence.

"We fought hard, but we didn't respond well enough to win the game," said Briles.

Believe it or not, nine points were also left on the field – Baylor’s kicker Aaron Jones missed two field goal tries and West Virginia’s Tyler Bitancurt was just wide right on a 50-yard field goal try on WVU’s opening drive.

For all of the scoring, however, the two most important offensive plays of the game came on West Virginia’s final drive to run out the clock. Senior J.D. Woods made a dazzling one-handed catch on a poorly thrown ball by Smith that resulted in a 13-yard gain and a Mountaineer first down. Had he not made that catch, Baylor was in great position to make an interception there.

“A sick play,” Smith admitted of Woods’ pretty one-handed grab. “I was ready to take off and tackle the guy.”

“The light came on for him in camp,” added Holgorsen. “I’m proud of J.D. because he stayed the course and the light came on for him.”

Then, three plays later, with the ball at the West Virginia 47 and the Mountaineers staring at a third and one with the clock stopped at 1:39, Holgorsen called Dustin Garrison’s number and he was able to get 17 yards to allow West Virginia to run out the clock.

“I still don’t think we rushed the ball well today,” said Holgorsen. “Obviously when Shawne (Alston) gets healthy we will do better at that, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse ever. Garrison is still coming along.”

West Virginia’s win snapped Baylor’s nine-game winning streak dating back to last year and extended the Mountaineers’ winning streak to eight consecutive games. WVU improves to 4-0.

The Bears did extend their streak of scoring at least 45 points to nine straight games.

“Both offenses played well, but to say that the defenses didn’t play well is an understatement,” admitted Holgorsen. “We have to keep improving on what we’re doing. We have eight more conference games; we have to continue to do what we’re doing and we have to get better.”

Baylor has two weeks off before facing TCU on Oct. 13 in Baylor's conference home opener. West Virginia travels to 12th-ranked Texas to play the Longhorns. Texas plays at Oklahoma State later tonight.


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