Mountaineers, Baylor spin scoring wheel
On Saturday, only the flow of the beer sales should rival the flow of the points put up by West Virginia and Baylor.
Baylor is the fourth-ranked team in the land. After squashing their non-conference schedule of SMU, Northwestern (Louisiana) State and Buffalo, the Bears have won three conference games. Last week, Baylor spotted then equally unbeaten TCU a 21-point lead before rallying for a 61-58 win in regulation.
Baylor leads the country in scoring with 52.7 points a game norm. Led by quarterback Bryce Petty, the Bears are sixth in passing yardage per game with 371 yards and 17th in rushing yards with 251 ground yards per game. That’s a lot of total offense.
Petty was removed early in the three non-conference smashings and still has completed 101-of-178 passes for 15 touchdowns. Appropriately named Shock Linwood has 627 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Freshman K.D. Cannon leads the team with 30 catches for 651 yards (21.7 yards per reception) and six scores.
West Virginia counters with its 4-2 overall record and 2-1 mark in Big 12 games.
Josh Lambert has provided two of the wins with 54- and 55-yard field goals on the last play of the game against Maryland and Texas Tech — both road games.
Quarterback Clint Trickett has already completed passes worth 2,203 yards and has 12 TD throws. He has completed 174-of-254 throws. Trinkett’s two favorite receivers are Kevin White, among the nation’s leaders with 61 receptions for 888 yards and five touchdowns, and Mario Alford, who has 34 catches, 411 yards and four scores.
West Virginia’s two leading rushers have been Rushel Shell (111 carries for 490 yards) and Wendell Smallwood (57 carries for 278 yards).
The Mountaineers own non-conference successes against Towson and Maryland and had a 33-23 loss to Alabama to begin the season.
Last week’s 37-34 win over Texas Tech was achieved with a come-from-behind effort in the second half. Just when it seemed like the game would lurch into overtime, the Mountaineers moved quickly into Lambert’s field goal range and his strong-enough leg gave them much to celebrate on the 1,500-mile plane ride back to Morgantown from west Texas.
One thing is certain, however. There is no time for self-congratulations.
Following Saturday’s 12-noon game against the unbeaten Bears, the Mountaineers must then travel to see 15th-ranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater and return home to face 12th-ranked TCU.
Before the season ends there is 14th-ranked Kansas State waiting on the list of conference crushers.
West Virginia needs a win to inch closer to qualifying for a bowl berth that eluded it last season when it dropped consecutive season-closing games to Kansas and Iowa State.