Whereas last week saw one of my favorite Baylor football games ever, this week was an absolute disaster of 2017 proportions. I thought we left the painful match ups of that 1-11 season in hell where they belong, but the Baylor vs. West Virginia game was truly a nightmare. The Bears got three of their starting OL back from quarantine and/or injuries, but missed six impact players on defense: sophomore DE TJ Franklin and Gabe Hall, junior DT Chidi Ogbonnaya, junior LB Ashton Logan, junior CB Kalon Barnes, and senior S Zeke Brown. Baylor couldn’t find their groove on offense throughout the entire game as the OL gave up several sacks and senior QB Charlie Brewer made critical mistakes. The always reliable sophomore K John Mayers also missed three field goals, which cost the Bears some game-winning points. And while I try to not complain about officiating here (I do in person all the time!), truly horrific non-calls in Baylor’s favor and an obvious TD they didn’t count sealed the game. As West Virginia (2-1, 1-1) beat Baylor (1-1, 1-1) in double overtime, Brewer completed 23 of 38 passing attempts for 229 yards with 3 TDS and 2 interceptions. He also added 11 carries for a loss of 8 yards. Both teams notched an incredible amount of penalties with Baylor at 12 for 86 yards and West Virginia at 12 for 102. The Bears finished with only 256 total yards.
The Mountaineers got the ball to start the game and they used up 6 minutes of the first quarter in their opening drive. Sophomore LB Dillon Doyle forced a fumble that West Virginia recovered, but the defense overall didn’t stop the Mountaineers from traveling 70 yards and scoring, 7-0. Baylor’s first drive was less productive, ending in 2 minutes and only 8 total yards despite catches of 4 and 14 yards by sophomore WR Tyquan Thornton and junior WR R.J. Sneed. Baylor’s defense showed up on the Mountaineers’ next series as senior LB William Bradley-King sacked West Virginia QB Jarret Doege for a loss of 8 yards and forced a fumble, which he recovered. Another Baylor series ended without points scored because a Baylor penalty negated a 12-yard catch by Thornton, senior RB John Lovett rushed for a loss of 8 yards, and Brewer completed 1 of 2 passes to Sneed for 3 yards before Mayers missed his first field goal of the day (what a horrific statement to make)—this one for 46 yards. Sophomore DE Brayden Utley earned a QB hurry and senior CB Raleigh Texada sacked Doege for a loss of 9 yards to force a fumble and another West Virginia punt. The first quarter ended as poorly as expected for Baylor as Brewer was sacked for a loss of 7 yards on the first down before leaving the field at 0-7.
After Brewer’s sack, the Bears had a quick three and out with senior RB Trestan Ebner catching a 3-yard pass and Brewer losing 4 yards on the ground. Baylor’s defense was active once again as junior LB Terrel Bernard (arguably the best player in the Big 12) intercepting Doege on first down. Lovett rushed for 7 yards on 2 carries before Brewer hit sophomore WR Gavin Holmes for 21 yards. Brewer ran for a loss of 2 yards, had an incomplete pass to Holmes, and Lovett caught a 5-yard ball, but Mayers missed another field goal of 48 yards. The Bears’ defense bailed out the offense once again when junior S JT Woods intercepted Doege’s pass and ran it back 28 yards. Lovett’s 5-yard run was taken back by another Baylor holding penalty (the OL desperately needs to work on these), but the Bears were bailed out when Brewer’s intercepted pass was called back by a West Virginia pass interference. Sophomore QB Gerry Bohanon and Ebner rushed for 1 and 2 yards apiece and Brewer completed an 18-yard pass to Thornton prior to Sneed’s 7-yard TD catch, tying the game at 7-7 with nearly 7 minutes left in the second. Baylor’s defense held West Virginia to only 6 plays and 26 yards before the offense got the ball back. The Bears recorded two holding penalties in one drive, negating Lovett’s 9 yards on 2 carries. Lovett also ran for 7 and 9 yards and Ebner added 6 yards on 2 carries before Baylor punted the ball away. Bernard had another QB hurry in the Mountaineers’ drive to force a three and out, but Baylor didn’t score again either. Brewer rushed for 15 yards and threw an 8-yard pass to Holmes before getting sacked for a loss of 4 yards. He threw two incomplete passes to junior WR Josh Fleeks but connected with Thornton on a one-second-left 7-yarder to set up a 51-yard field goal, which Mayers missed again, closing the first half at 7-7.
The Bears got the ball first, so Brewer ran for 15 yards and Lovett lost 1, but Brewer was sacked for a loss of 10 yards. On 3rd and 21, he only threw a 16-yarder to Thornton, so Baylor was forced to punt. Thankfully West Virginia returned the favor on a 1.5 minute three and out. Baylor’s next drive was somehow even worse with Lovett rushing for a loss of 1 yard, Brewer throwing a 4-yard ball to Fleeks, and getting sacked for a loss of 8 yards. After the Mountaineers sent the ball back, Brewer passed for 2 yards to Sneed, but a false start penalty and another Brewer sack for a loss of 4 yards quickly ended the drive. West Virginia moved the ball 72 yards in 11 plays and scored a TD to increase their lead to 14-7. Brewer’s incomplete pass to Ebner didn’t matter as the OL recorded another holding penalty (unacceptable) before Brewer notched passes to Holmes and Sneed for 1 and 18 yards. Brewer ran for 5 yards, threw an incomplete pass to Thornton, and completed a 4-yard pass to Sneed before time ran out in the third quarter.
Brewer threw a 10-yard pass to Fleeks, but his next throw was intercepted and returned 11 yards to set up West Virginia’s next series. Junior S/LB Jalen Pitre was all over the field all day and he forced a fumble on 3rd and 2, but the Mountaineers recovered their ball shortly before punting. Another unfortunate Baylor offensive series occurred when Brewer was sacked for a loss of 4 yards, threw an incomplete pass, had a QB hurry, and threw another incomplete pass to Thornton under one minute. West Virginia’s next drive wasn’t much better and they punted the ball back after 4 plays. Lovett ran for 1 yard and caught a 7-yard pass, but Brewer’s throw to Holmes was incomplete. Upon Baylor’s punt, the punt returner fumbled the ball and redshirt freshman S Will Williams recovered it to give Baylor another possession. *This drive is the one where Baylor should have taken the lead but the refs literally stole a TD* Brewer threw two incomplete passes to Ebner and Thornton, but the second was cancelled by a West Virginia pass interference. Brewer completed a 4-yard pass to Holmes and Ebner ran for 1 yard and caught a 4-yard ball. Lovett ran for 3 yards and Bohanon added 2 on 3rd and goal, but on 4th and goal, Lovett’s 1-yard leap into the endzone wasn’t called a TD. Here’s a gif of the TD that apparently wasn’t (but we know it was). West Virginia punted the ball back to the Bears with 1:55 left in the game and Brewer’s three incomplete passes plus a QB hurry looked devastating until the Mountaineers were called on an unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave Baylor 15 yards and a 1st down. Brewer threw a 10-yard pass to Ebner and with approximately 40 seconds left, connected with Fleeks for a 34-yard game-tying TD. The Mountaineers couldn’t get the ball downfield on their possession, so the game went into overtime (the worst part of football).
West Virginia scored on their first possession after 5 to take the 21-14 lead, but Baylor quickly responded with Brewer’s 25-yard TD pass to sophomore TE Ben Sims, tying the game at 21-21. However, the worst of the worst happened when Brewer was knocked down while attempting a pass that was intercepted in the endzone. The Mountaineers responded with a 4-play TD to secure the 27-21 double overtime victory.
4 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including Lovett (14 carries for 23 yards), Ebner (6 carries for 9 yards), Bohanon (2 carries for 3 yards), and Brewer (11 carries for a loss of 8 yards). 7 received passes including Sneed (6 catches for 48 yards and 1 TD), Fleeks (3 catches for 48 yards and 1 TD), Thornton (4 catches for 45 yards), Holmes (4 catches for 34 yards), Sims (1 catch for 25 yards and 1 TD), Ebner (3 catches for 17 yards), and Lovett (2 catches for 12 yards). Baylor’s defense improved since last week, amassing 79 tackles with 8 for a loss of 30 yards (Pitre, Texada, Bradley-King, junior DT Ryan Miller, sophomore LB Victor Obi, Utley), 2 sacks for a loss of 17 yards (Texada, Bradley-King), 4 forced fumbles (Pitre, sophomore LB Dillon Doyle, Texada, Bradley-King), 2 fumble recoveries (Bradley-King, Williams), 2 interceptions returned 28 yards (Bernard, Woods), 3 pass breakups (Bernard, Bradley-King, sophomore CB Mark Milton), and 3 QB hurries (Bernard, Utley, freshman LB Tony Anyanwu).
Baylor will face No. 17 Oklahoma State (3-0, 2-0) in Waco for Homecoming on October 17.