West Virginia meets face Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Find the score and live updates below.
The No. 23 Mountaineers (4-2, 2-1) will attempt to continue their recent surge after a dramatic 46-35 comeback triumph over Texas Tech. West Virginia scored the final 29 points of the game for their second-largest home comeback since 1980.
Baylor (0-6, 0-3) dropped its school-record 12 consecutive regular season losses in a 59-16 loss at Oklahoma State. The Bears were gashed for 747 yards of total offense by the potent Cowboys’ offensive attack.
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West Virginia-Baylor football score, live updates
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West Virginia-Baylor football picks, odds
West Virginia is a 9.5-point favorite over Texas Tech. The over/under is set at 67 1/2 points.
ESPN: West Virginia 44, Baylor 38 (Jake Trotter), West Virginia 48, Baylor 35 (Sam Kahn).
Bleacher Report: West Virginia 45, Baylor 12
Athlon Sports: West Virginia 44, Baylor 30
College Football News: West Virginia 47, Baylor 30
Dallas Morning News: West Virginia 45, Baylor 20
West Virginia-Baylor: Keys to the game for the Mountaineers
1. Keep the momentum going from the end of the Texas Tech game:
West Virginia finished with a flourish at the end of last week’s game. They played their best football of the season late in the game against Texas Tech.
The offense came alive as quarterback Will Grier torched the Red Raiders for five touchdown passes – including four scores in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Not to be outdone, the West Virginia defense limited Texas Tech to one first down on its final four possessions to help snatch victory out of what appeared to be certain defeat.
The Mountaineers picked up their first victory over a ranked opponent since 2014. And it would be a natural tendency for them to be a little flat after such a thrilling comeback.
But when West Virginia can match the intensity of that late rally, they can play with any opponent in the nation.
It will be a challenge as West Virginia seeks their first victory in Waco in the history of their series with Baylor.
But Baylor appears to be down after its blowout loss at Oklahoma State last week. The Cowboys ripped them for a program-record 747 yards of total offense.
2. Build on the late defensive finish:
Tom Gibson’s group played better down the stretch against Texas Tech with three three-and-outs and an interception to close the game. They will have to continue that run of success to have a chance to win on the road — even at Baylor.
The Mountaineers struggle stopping opponents all season, allowing 6.3 yards per play (111th nationally), 27.8 points per game (80th in scoring defense) and 243.2 yards passing per game (97th nationally).
Baylor got its running game going last week. Terence Williams gashed Oklahoma State for 95 yards in limited playing time. The Bears produced a season-best 219 rushing yards as a team.
Considering that Kansas running back Khalil Herbert ran for 291 yards earlier this season and Kansas got 367 as a team, stopping the run has to be a concern against any team in the Big 12.
The Bears had their worst game of the season last week but scored 41 points on Oklahoma earlier this month. And their offense figures to be rejuvenated with the return to health of top wide receiver Denzel Mims, who struggled against Oklahoma State with 2 catches for 20 yards as he was sick with the flu.
3. Hope the offense keeps humming:
The Mountaineers have among the most balanced offenses in the nation. And as long as the offense is in sync, the Mountaineers can play with anybody.
Their record attests to this with a pair of seven-point losses to No. 14 Virginia Tech and No. 4 TCU. And they had chances in both those games.
Grier has emerged as the key with one of the fastest starts of any quarterback in West Virginia history. He’s thrown for at least 334 yards in every game this season and has rifled a nation-best 22 touchdowns against only five interceptions.
David Sills V has been one of the nation’s top receiving threats. He leads all FBS players with 12 TD grabs, including three last week.
But Sills wasn’t alone as Ka’Raun White (8 receptions, 114 yards, 2 TDs), Gary Jennings (9 grabs, 68 yards) and Marcus Sills (6 catches, 72 yards) all had big games against the Red Raiders.
The running game tailed off last week with a season-low 44 yards and a 1.9 yard per carry average against the Red Raiders. Those struggled helped account for the worst game of the season for Justin Crawford, who was limited to a season-low 47 yards that snapped his string of 100-yard games at five.
Unique offensive streak ends
It also ended the Mountaineers’ unique streak of having a 300-yard passer, 100-yard receiver and 100-yard rusher in each of their first five games.
But their chances of getting the running game going should be strong against Baylor. The Bears rank 120th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 241.17 yards per game. They are tied for 125th nationally allowing 5.57 yards per carry.
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