As the West Virginia Mountaineers push through in the 2021 season, they will be faced with a road challenge at Baylor. Baylor is 4-1 on the season, and they are coming off a close loss at No. 12 Oklahoma State.
The Mountaineers (2-3, 0-1 Big 12) and Bears only have a history that goes back to 2012, which was the year WVU joined the Big 12. Since that time, WVU has a 6-3 record against Baylor, including a road win in 2017. The short series has had its share of shootouts and tight games, so let’s take a look at some of the best games between the Mountaineers and Bears.
2012 (Morgantown, WV)
The day was September 29, 2012, and it was the first game in the Big 12 conference for West Virginia. The No. 9 Mountaineers were 3-0 when they welcomed the No. 25 Baylor Bears into Morgantown for Mountaineer’s Field’s first ‘Stripe the Stadium.’
This game was the shootout of all shootouts, as both defenses were nonexistent throughout.
In the first quarter, both teams got on the board with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 7-7 for most of the opening quarter. With under three minutes in the first quarter, both teams would score from seven yards out, and the score was 14-14 after a quarter.
The second quarter is when the action picked up, as Baylor took a 21-14 lead on another one-yard score. The big plays started shortly after, as WVU tied the game with a deep throw from Geno Smith to Stedman Bailey that was caught in a tight window for the 47-yard touchdown. Baylor would answer with a big play of their own when Nick Florence hit Tevin Reese for a 65-yard touchdown down the sideline.
Smith and the Mountaineer offense would respond again, as he found Stedman Bailey again, this time for a 20-yard score. With 20 seconds remaining in the half, Geno Smith threw up a perfect pass to Stedman Bailey in the back corner of the end zone for another touchdown. This put WVU up 35-28, but Baylor was not ready to go into the locker room. With six seconds remaining, Nick Florence stepped up and threw a ball to Lanear Sampson that went all the way for a 67-yard touchdown with no time remaining in the half. This tied the game at 35-35 going into the break.
In the third quarter, action picked up when WVU star wide receiver, Tavon Austin caught a slant route and took it 45 yards to the endzone for the touchdown. After finally getting a stop on defense, WVU extended their lead when Geno Smith found Tavon Austin again, this time in the form of a long ball that went for a 52-yard touchdown. After Baylor missed a long field goal, WVU made their way down the field and scored again when running back Andrew Buie ran the ball in from a yard out to extend the lead to 56-35. The Bears would not lay down, as wide receiver Terrance Williams caught a 37-yard touchdown pass late in the quarter. The Mountaineers took a 56-42 lead into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth, Baylor would score on a quarterback run by Nick Florence from a yard out to make it a one score game. Within a minute, WVU hit a big play when Geno Smith found Stedman Bailey around 20 yards down the field. Baylor had a busted coverage on the play, and Bailey was able to take it all the way for an 87-yard touchdown. Baylor’s offense came back out and drove the ball down the field once more. After a lengthy drive, Nick Florence threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Antwan Goodley. This made the score 63-56.
After the Baylor score, the Mountaineers methodically marched down the field, burning some clock in the process. The drive ended when Geno Smith found Stedman Bailey yet again for a touchdown, this time over the top from 39-yards out with 5:55 remaining. Baylor would not go away, as the Bears converted a fourth down and ended up scoring on an eight-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams. WVU took the ball and got a couple of first downs which sealed the victory. The Mountaineers won by the wild score of 70-63.
Geno Smith broke a school record with an incredible 656 yards passing and eight touchdowns, which tied a Big 12 record. Stedman Bailey had 303 yards with five touchdowns, while Terrance Williams of Baylor put up 314 yards with two touchdowns.
2014 (Morgantown, WV)
For the 2014 matchup between the Bears and Mountaineers, Baylor was coming into Morgantown ranked No. 4 in the nation with a 6-0 record. WVU was 4-2 after two losses to top teams Alabama and Oklahoma.
Within the first minute of the game, Baylor’s defense forced WVU’s offense into a third down from their own nine-yard line, and the Bears defense got to quarterback Clint Trickett. Trickett fumbled the ball, and Baylor was immediately in prime scoring position. Baylor quarter Bryce Petty completed a seven-yard touchdown to Corey Coleman to give the Bears an early 7-0 lead.
WVU would answer on the next possession when Clint Trickett found star wide receiver and future Biletnikoff Award finalist Kevin White for a 36-yard touchdown in a tight window. Baylor would tack on six more points with a pair of field goals to finish out the first quarter with a 13-7 lead.
Early in the second quarter, WVU’s defense stopped Baylor on a crucial fourth down in Mountaineer territory. Trickett and the Mountaineer offense moved the ball down the field, and after two pass interference penalties on Baylor, WVU would score on a one-yard touchdown run from Andrew Buie to give them a 14-13 lead.
Baylor hit a big play on a third and long when Bryce Petty found Antwan Goodley for a 63-yard score to reclaim the lead. WVU would get back in the end zone before the half, when power running back, Dreamius Smith, ran for a nine-yard touchdown. After a stop from the WVU defense, the Mountaineers were able to get down the field for another chance to score before the half. Josh Lambert drilled a 54-yard kick as time expired to give WVU a 24-20 lead heading into halftime.
The third quarter didn’t provide much action, as there were only two scores. Josh Lambert made a 24-yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a touchdown lead, but with under a minute left in the third, Baylor would find the end zone with a Shock Linwood one-yard run. The ballgame was tied 24-24 with one quarter left to play.
The Mountaineers dominated the fourth quarter on defense, as they made some crucial stops and forced multiple punts. After more Baylor defensive penalties, and a long pass play to Andrew Buie, WVU made their way into the red zone. With 11:36 remaining, Clint Trickett threw a ball into the right corner of the end zone in one-on-one coverage to Kevin White. White snagged the ball with one hand and pulled it for the beautiful 12-yard touchdown.
With 7:35 to go in the game, WVU put the game away when Clint Trickett hit Mario Alford on a slant route that he broke free on. Alford zipped past three defenders and took it in for a 39-yard touchdown. WVU would go on to win the game 41-27 and upset the fourth ranked Bears.
2016 (Morgantown, WV)
In the 2016 matchup, the Bears came in at 6-5 with an interim head coach filling in after the university had to fire head coach Art Briles amid an NCAA investigation. No. 16 West Virginia came in with a 9-2 record, trying to clinch their first 10-win season since the 2011-2012 campaign.
In the first quarter, the only action was a 50-yard field goal by the Hurricane, West Virginia, native Mike Molina.
The second quarter was more eventful, as Baylor showed they came to play. On the first play of the quarter, Baylor scored on a nine-yard touchdown run from Terence Williams. Baylor struck again when Zach Smith threw the ball down field to K.D. Cannon that was taken in for a 60-yard touchdown.
Down 14-3 with halftime approaching, the Mountaineers needed to score. On a fourth down from the four yard line, senior WVU quarterback Skyler Howard threw a ball in the back of the end zone to Daikiel Shorts. The throw forced Shorts’s momentum to go out of bounds, but before going out of bounds, Shorts miraculously extended a foot back in bounds for the touchdown. WVU trailed 14-10 at halftime.
The third quarter didn’t bring much action, but with 2:04 remaining in the quarter, the Mountaineers got the crowd back into the game. On a third and six from near mid-field, Skyler Howard hit wide receiver Gary Jennings on a slant over the middle and he got loose. Jennings took the pass 58-yards for a touchdown to give WVU a 17-14 lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers had a fourth and goal to go. They ran a quarterback run with blockers pushing Skyler Howard into the end zone. This play gave WVU a 24-14 lead. Action slowed down after the touchdown, and it looked like the game was nearing the end, but Baylor kept themselves alive with a 43-yard touchdown catch from Ishmael Zamora. This cut the WVU lead to 24-21 with 2:40 to go.
Baylor kicked onside after the touchdown and recovered the ball, but the kick did not go 10 yards, so they had to do it again. WVU recovered the next onside kick and went on to win by the score 24-21 and clinch a 10-win season.
2020 (Morgantown, WV)
The most recent matchup between the Bears and Mountaineers took place last season in 2020 WVU and Baylor met in Morgantown with no fans in attendance besides family members due to COVID-19 protocols.
While there wasn’t a ton of action in this game, it did make for some drama down the stretch to make it pretty memorable.
On the first drive of the game, WVU marched down the field and scored when Jarret Doege fooled the Baylor defense by keeping the ball on a read option on the one-yard line. Plenty of sloppiness would ensue in the first and second quarter, as Baylor missed two kicks and WVU turned the ball over three times in that stretch.
Baylor got on the board before halftime with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Brewer to R.J. Sneed. The score was 7-7 heading into halftime.
Not much action took place in the third quarter, as there was only one score in the frame. Leddie Brown’s one-yard touchdown run with 1:37 left in the quarter would put WVU ahead 14-7.
In the fourth quarter, it stayed a defensive battle, and it appeared West Virginia may win by the low score of 14-7, but Baylor wasn’t done. With 1:19 remaining, Charlie Brewer stepped up and threw a huge 34-yard touchdown to Josh Fleeks to tie the game at 14-14 and send it into overtime.
In overtime, WVU got the ball first and took care of business. Jarret Doege found Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the back corner of the end zone, and it was hauled in for the score. Baylor, needing a touchdown to stay alive, came out firing. On their first offensive play of overtime, Charlie Brewer found tight end Ben Sims after a Mountaineer defensive breakdown and Sims took it into the end zone from 25 yards out to send the game into double overtime.
Because of overtime rules, the possession switched, so Baylor got the ball first. Like the first overtime period, Charlie Brewer took a shot to the end zone, but this time it was intercepted by Tykee Smith. Only needing a field goal to win the game, WVU made their way inside Baylor’s five yard-line. Leddie Brown took a handoff and ran the ball in from three yards out to give West Virginia the 27-21 victory.
The series between WVU and Baylor is set to resume Saturday at noon ET from McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas.