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73


West Virginia (3-2) at (17) Baylor (3-0)



Saturday, October 5, 8 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: Fresh off their biggest win of the season, the West Virginia Mountaineers face another major obstacle as they head to the Lone Star State for this Saturday's Big 12 Conference clash with the 17th-ranked Baylor Bears.

West Virginia took out No. 11 Oklahoma State at home last weekend, pushing the team a game over .500 on the season at 3-2. It was a huge effort for a club that was completely dominated the week prior by regional rival Maryland (37-0). The Mountaineers' other victories came against FCS foe William & Mary, as well as FBS newcomer Georgia State, while its first loss came in the conference opener against Oklahoma. WVU is only in its second season as a member of the Big 12.

It's little wonder why Baylor is undefeated at this point in the season, as the Bears own the nation's top offense. BU was idle last week, giving coach Art Briles' club ample time to prepare for its conference opener this week against WVU. The Bears opened the campaign by blasting FCS foe Wofford (69-3), but they upped the production from there, putting up 70 points in back-to-back wins over Buffalo and ULM. Critics will say Baylor hasn't played anyone yet, and while the level of competition hasn't been what the team will face the rest of the way, there is no discounting the merit of Briles' offense.

These two teams met for the first time last season, with the Mountaineers claiming a wild 70-63 triumph in Morgantown.

Spotting Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter, the Mountaineers took control of matters, outscoring the Cowboys 30-14 the rest of the way to pull off the upset. West Virginia had trouble establishing the run (68 net yards), but got a solid effort from first-time starter Clint Trickett at quarterback, the former Florida State Seminole completing 24-of-50 passes for 309 yards and a TD. He was picked off twice and sacked once, but managed the game effectively in helping the home team claim a six-minute edge in the time of possession battle. Charles Sims, Ronald Carswell and Daikiel Shorts all tallied five catches for a combined 190 yards, while Sims paced the ground game with 60 yards and a TD on 18 carries.

For the most part, the West Virginia defense was on top of its game last week in allowing 433 yards to the Cowboys, the bulk of which came through the air (322). The Mountaineers proved to be an opportunistic bunch in coming up with three turnovers and holding the Pokes to just 6-of-20 success on third-down conversion attempts. Jared Barber was high man on the defense with his nine tackles, while Ismael Banks took an interception back 58 yards for a TD to record WVU's first points in the game.

Coach Dana Holgorsen praised his team for the effort, particularly the guys charged with stopping the opposition.

"Our defense played well. They created turnovers and stuck people. They held a team to 21 points that hasn't been held to that for quite some time."

The Mountaineers haven't had a ton of success on offense this season, averaging a mere 20.4 ppg behind typical outputs of 153.4 ypg on the ground and 239.2 ypg via the pass. Coach Dana Holgorsen has used three QBs, and the trio has combined to hit just over half of their pass attempts, but with only five TDs against six interceptions. Shorts and Sims have both hauled in 17 balls, with the former leading the team with a pair of receiving TDs. Sims paces the ground attack with 388 yards and three scores.

Foes are generating 345.4 ypg against the Mountaineers defense, but that has resulted in an average yield of only 19.6 ppg. Darwin Cook is the leading tackler with 31 stops, but Barber is hot on his heels with 30. Both Will Clarke and Brandon Golson have posted three sacks, while Cook already has three picks.

Baylor averages an eye-popping 69.7 points and 751.3 yards per game, both of which rank the team first in the nation, the former being more than 10 points better than the second-ranked team (Oregon), and the latter nearly 140 ypg more than No. 2 UCLA. Bryce Petty has performed exceptionally well as the Bears' next great signal caller, completing 74.6 percent of his passes for 1,001 yards, eight TDs and no interceptions. Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley have combined for 29 receptions, 720 yards and seven scores, while the BU ground attack boasts the talents of Lache Seastrunk and his 417 yards and six TDs. Shock Linwood lends a hand as he has scored four times, giving the Bears 14 rushing TDs on the season.

Baylor's defensive effort, while coming against inferior opponents, has resulted in the team permitting a scant 7.7 ppg, which is the second-lowest yield in the FBS. Eddie Lackey leads the Bears with 23 tackles, Bryce Hager has 22, and the unit as a whole has been credited with nine takeaways and 10 sacks. Shawn Oakman is second in the country with 2.7 TFL per game.

Baylor matched a school record by scoring 35 points in the first quarter of its 70-7 rout of ULM on Sept. 21, churning out 781 yards of total offense compared to just 295 for the overmatched visitors. Petty threw for 351 yards with four TDs, with both Goodley and Reese going over 100 yards with 156 and 123, respectively, and they combined for three TDs. Seastrunk rumbled his way to 156 yards and a score.

Hager paced the defense with eight tackles, while the unit as a whole came up with four turnovers, two of which were returned for TDs on picks by Joe Williams and Terrell Burt in the record-tying opening quarter.

While not necessarily a fan of early byes, Briles likes the fact that his team is well-rested heading into the conference opener.

"The thing about these open dates early in the season is that you feel like you're just starting and stopping, and that's kind of the way we feel right now without question. But the good thing is that our guys are fresh, energized, and anxious, and when you're anxious to do something then you usually have a lot of anticipation and get out there and do it."

As high as the Mountaineers were after last week's win, hitting the road to challenge a club as potent as Baylor is likely to take much of the wind out of their sails. Expect the Bears to come back to Earth a bit after starting the season at such a high level, but there is little chance this one ends up falling in favor of the visiting team.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 56, West Virginia 20

10/02 10:34:41 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
Final
ORL 100
MIL 115
Final
IND 103
NYK 82
Final
MEM 99
DEN 69
4th
LAL 84
CHI 83
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
LAC
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
CHI
 
Final
PROV 83
DEP 72
Final
RUTG 51
MSU 71
Final
ARMY 71
BU 67
 
Final
RFLSH 75
BRY 68
 
Final
MERC 75
CHAT 72
 
Final
LIU 67
CCST 55
 
Final
TOWS 74
COC 70
 
Final
UMASS 66
DAY 64
Final
FUR 59
ETST 55
 
Final
ODU 71
FIU 56
Final
RMU 87
FD 65
 
Final
CHAR 86
FATL 61
Final
LIB 53
HIGH 72
 
Final
UNF 86
KNST 67
 
Final
FLGC 78
LIP 62
 
Final
OSU 80
MD 56
Final
Terriers 73
MNTER 67
 
Final
STET 85
NKENTUCKY 75
 
Final
WAGN 75
SHU 64
 
Final
GMAS 68
STLU 60
Final
JVU 65
USCU 78
 
Final
VMI 70
WCU 85
 
Final
LATU 69
WKENT 56
Final
UNCG 42
WOFF 58
 
Final
DET 93
YOUNG 87
 
Final
GSOUT 83
APP 46
 
Final
TENNM 81
EILL 51
 
Final
GHND 64
HC 54
 
Final
CIN 70
UCONN 58
Final
NDST 61
DEN 54
 
Final
SD 55
MAST 66
 
Final
UWMIL 71
ILLCH 65
 
Final
BEL 103
JVST 82
 
Final
SMISS 54
MARS 69
Final
TXSA 69
MTST 58
Final
PETE 49
RIDE 58
 
Final
SEMIZ 61
SIUE 75
 
Final
TENST 64
TENT 56
 
Final
NDAK 60
WEBER 67
 
Final
SALA 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
ARKST 65
ARKLR 75
 
Final
TROY 55
LAMON 58
 
Final
TXARL 74
UGST 88
 
Final
MURST 85
EKENT 78
 
Final
NCOL 79
IDST 76
 
Final
MIZZ 53
KENT 69
Final
GONZ 64
PORT 46
Final
UTEP 71
UAB 69
Final
GRCN 78
UMKC 57
 
Final
WLVRN 78
CHIST 62
 
3rd OT
USC 90
COL 91
 
Final
UCI 67
CPSL 57
 
Final
CSNO 73
HAW 84
 
Final
PAC 43
PEPP 50
 
Final
SDU 69
SCU 64
 
Final
UCD 70
UCSB 64
 
Final
UCLA 69
UTAH 59
 
Final
PORST 54
MONT 73
 
Final
SACST 75
MNTST 59
 
2nd
CSFU 68
LBSU 59
 
Final
GAELS 68
LMU 54
 
2nd
WASU 42
CAL 46
 
2nd
BYU 46
USF 42
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
CORN
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
DART
 
7:00pm Tonight
NIAG
MAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
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QUIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
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8:00pm Tonight
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FAIR
MON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARST
OREG
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLMB
YALE
 
10:00pm Tonight
BUF
KSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
ORST
 
Final
NYI 2
BOS 5
Final
NYR 0
MON 1
Final
PHI 5
WIN 2
Final
TOR 1
ARI 3
Final
FLA 3
CLB 2
Final
TAM 5
DET 1
Final
STL 5
NAS 4
Final
CAL 0
MIN 1
Final
EDM 3
BUF 2
3rd
SJS 6
ANA 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI