MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If you were looking for an offensive show, then you wouldn’t find it in Morgantown. The Mountaineers used a stout defense and overcame four turnovers to top Baylor in overtime on Saturday afternoon 27-21.
After the first drive from West Virginia, you would’ve thought they had the Baylor defense figured out. Both teams dug in their cleats, gritted their teeth and fought tooth and nail until the final whistle.
It wasn’t a pretty showing from either team on offense. With both teams combining for 24 penalties for 188 yards. It seemed impossible for one team to complete a single drive without committing a false start penalty.
West Virginia’s defense swarmed the Baylor offense all day. The Mountaineers allowed only 256 total yards and only 27 of those yards were on the ground.
The Bears made life hard for the Mountaineers as well. West Virginia could only convert five of 18 third downs and averaged just five yards per pass.
“Some people will call it ugly. I would say it’s gritty,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “That’s the word I would use is grit. I thought our kids fought and we found a way.”
It was a game that saw the Mountaineers in the backfield almost every down. A collection of 11 tackles for loss and six sacks on the day for West Virginia.
West Virginia senior Tony Fields II made sure the Bears knew who he was before leaving Morgantown. He ended up with ten tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. A player known as the “Train Stopper” by Neal Brown.
“We needed a train stopper. We need somebody when things are going bad that they can answer the call to adversity,” Brown said. “And somebody that can show our young football players how to respond to adversity.”
It would be wrong to mention the great play of the defense without mentioning the Stills brothers. A year ago, the brothers wreaked havoc on the Bears offense and things went just as expected this time around.
The Stills brothers combined for seven tackles, 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.
“We knew that we had a good game plan going in,” West Virginia’s Darius Stills said. “Honestly, just we kicked into a whole other gear and I’m proud of my guys for it.”
The Mountaineers would keep Baylor out of the endzone through the first quarter. The Bears first score would come in the second quarter after West Virginia’s Jarrett Doege threw his second interception. Baylor wouldn’t find pay dirt anymore until the closing minutes of the game.
The Bears fought down the field 59 yards in four plays to knot the score at 14-14. They would hold the Mountaineers for the last drive of the game before heading into overtime.
It seemed both teams would find their offensive rhythm in overtime.
The Mountaineers used five plays on their ensuing drive before Doege connected with Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the corner of the endzone for his first touchdown of the game.
Baylor quickly stole away any hope the Mountaineers had after needing only one play to find Ben Sims wide open down the field for a 25-yard touchdown.
West Virginia would show they were unfazed when Tykee Smith tracked a deep thrown ball from Baylor quarterback, Charlie Brewer, across his shoulder right into his hands. Giving the ball back to the Mountaineers and allowing Mountaineer running back, Leddie Brown, push his way into the endzone for the final score of the game.
“I feel bad for our group,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “Going back to the beginning of the week, the energy, I thought we had some good practices. You could feel some momentum building. Just to come up short and kind of be right there, and see the hurt on their faces, hurts me.”
Jarrett Doege was pressured by the Baylor defense all day, but would come away with 30 completions for 211 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Charlie Brewer ended 23 for 38 for 229 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
West Virginia heads into a bye week before taking on Kansas in Morgantown on October 17th.