Baylor will hope to avoid a major setback in its Big 12 title defense as it seeks its first road win in school history against West Virginia on Thursday in Morgantown, W.Va.
The Bears (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) fell to sixth in the league standings after a 36-25 loss to then-No. 9 Oklahoma State on Saturday, while West Virginia (2-3, 0-2) hasn’t played since a 38-20 loss at Texas on Oct. 1 kept it winless in conference play.
Baylor, which beat West Virginia 45-20 last year in Waco, is 0-5 all time in Morgantown. The Bears fell 27-21 in double overtime in their last visit in 2020.
The Bears are coming off their worst performance of the year, which knocked them out of the AP poll from No. 16.
After trailing Oklahoma State 23-3 less than a minute into the third quarter, Baylor pulled to within 23-17 following back-to-back touchdown drives. The Cowboys, however, scored the game’s next 10 points to secure the victory.
“There’s a lot to be learned from there,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said of his team’s second-half rally. “But there’s a lot to be learned from the first half. It’s disappointing, the way that we started.”
Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen has completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 1,118 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions — two of which came in the second half against Oklahoma State.
While Baylor’s defense hadn’t allowed more than 26 points until being gashed by the Cowboys, West Virginia has given up an average of 43.7 points in its three defeats.
The Mountaineers were outgained 446-314 in their loss to Texas, which jumped out to a 28-0 lead with 4:22 before halftime.
West Virginia’s shoddy defense has overshadowed the play of JT Daniels, who transferred from Georgia during the offseason. He’s completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 1,209 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Bryce Ford-Wheaton has 35 receptions for 412 yards and four touchdowns.
Daniels’ statistics would be even better had it not been for a slew of dropped passes that have plagued West Virginia this season. Coach Neal Brown said receivers dropped six of them against Texas.
“I wish there was a magic button or something JT could really help with,” Brown said. “It’s really not. It’s about repetitions, catching balls, making sure your hands are in the right spot and going into practice doing it in a game-like situation.”
West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson has been ruled out for Thursday’s game after suffering a concussion against Texas. Donaldson has rushed for a team-high 389 yards and six touchdowns this season.
–Field Level Media