Waco, TX. – A Halloween night in Waco, Texas complete with spooky Halloween music and Mountaineer Pat McAfee calling the game was the recipe for some hocus pocus at McLane Stadium. The first half was full of the doldrums of too many punts, not much offensive spectacle and a tied ball game at the half. Ultimately, the Bears edged out the Mountainers in a 17-14 loss giving West Virginia a 3-5 record with four remaining games to play.
Within the first few minutes of the game, it was clear that West Virginia’s defense had traveled to Texas with a desire to stop the prolific Bears quarterback, Charlie Brewers. Both teams scratched on their opening drives of the quarter, running just shy of four minutes off of the clock, the back and forth between the two teams taking up much of the first quarter.
The first quarter between the Mountaineers and the top of conference Bears was full of plenty of punts and not much excitement. With several minutes left in the half, Mountaineer Josh Norwood was ejected on an unquestionable targeting call, making this the second ejection for Norwood this season.
The Bears managed to pull out seven points to close out the first quarter as West Virginia’s defense was pulling arguably the vast majority of the weight in Waco.
At 9:44 left in the second, Baylor gave the Mountaineers a free pass on offense as the defense stepped up yet again, recovering their third fumble of season. Three unsuccessful downs later and the Mountaineers had punter Josh Growden back on the field for yet another punt.
West Virginia worked with Kennedy McKoy in the Wildcat position several times throughout the first half, but with roughly 7 minutes left in the first half, the offense had a cringeworthy moment. With McKoy in to run the Wildcat, the Mountaineers managed to lose 21 yards on the snap, again punting the ball back over to their Thursday night hosts.
The Mountaineers defense showing up and bailing out the offense was an overarching theme as West Virginia was close to an Orange Bowl moment as they managed to stop the Bears offense on the 1-yard line. The offense again struggled to capitalize on the defense’s play and Growden punted yet again.
With 0:47 left in the half, Kendall’s pass is intercepted by CB Jameson Houston. Kendall’s interception was on the heels of the second targeting call of the game, as Baylor’s Chris Miller was ejected at the 0:53 second mark. Miller’s targeting call came on a hit on Kendall, who himself actually got penalized for taunting.
Both teams headed to the locker room with the Baylor Bears leading 7-0 to round out the first half in Waco.
Starting the third quarter, the Bears had the ball to start and the Mountaineers defense quickly forced a fumble and it seemed as if the Mountaineers offense had woken up, several quick first downs and Kendall and his offense were back to first half ways; another bad snap leading to a fumble recovered by Baylor. At 6:42 in the third Austin Kendall called on George Campbell for some much needed offensive action and Campbell delivered as the Mountaineer scored an 83-yard touchdown to tie the Bears.
The third quarter was packed with action as the Bears drove down the field followed the Mountaineers third touchdown in the month of October to go up 14-7 on their guests. Following the touchdown, freshman wide receiver Winston Wright ran the ball back 95 yards and the Mountaineers tied it up 14-14, marking the first kick return touchdown since Shelton Gibson’s 100-yard return in Waco in 2015. Baylor kicker John Mayers kicks the field goal to give the Bears a three point lead with 10 minutes left in the Halloween night matchup.
At 4:43 left in the game, the Mountaineers recover the punt return fumble to get the ball back at on the 34 yard line. The Mountaineers seemingly constant bad cards dealt came up again on this series when the Mountaineers got a delay of game on their attempted game-tying field goal kicked by freshman Casey Legg. After the five yards, the kick was no good.
As the time wore down on the clock, so did the steam in West Virginia’s fight. The key difference in the last several games and the Baylor matchup was the longevity of fight in the third and fourth quarter versus the dwindling energy and effort of weeks past.
The Baylor Bears defeated the Mountaineers in an offensively slow game to remain undefeated and the top team in the Big 12. The Mountaineers play their second to last home game versus the Texas Tech Red Raiders.