The Baylor football team recorded their second near-upset of the season as they faced No. 23 West Virginia on Homecoming Saturday. The Bears’ record may read 0-7, but the drive and passion they showed against the Mountaineers proved how spectacular they’ll be in the next one-two years. Led by mostly true freshmen and sophomores, the team made an epic comeback attempt to reveal the season isn’t over just yet.
The Bears faced an impressive West Virginia offense led by QB Will Grier and WR David Sills who gave the Mountaineers a dominant lead heading into the third quarter. Grier was 26 for 37 attempts for 375 yards and five (yes, five) TDs, three of which went to Sills. The WR leads the nation in TDs and he padded his resume with seven catches for 136 yards and three additional scores, totaling 15 TDs on the season. The Mountaineers wrecked the Baylor defense in the first three quarters, scoring all five TDs before the start of the fourth. What seemed to be an untouchable offense, however, was completely shut down by Baylor DC Phil Snow’s group in the last 15 minutes.
Heading into the last quarter, the Bears were down 38-13 in what looked like a potentially ugly defeat. QB Zach Smith fought illness throughout the entirety of the game as he took five sacks. He completed 16 of 27 attempts for 267 yards, but had zero TD passes. Before he left the game, Smith connected with true freshman WR Gavin Holmes on a 56-yard run to get a first down. Holmes didn’t record any TDs, but his speed and strength make him a monster addition to the Bears’ receiving corps. Head coach Matt Rhule subbed in true freshman QB Charlie Brewer for Smith during the fourth quarter and that’s where the magic began. When Brewer ran onto the field, the Bears were in the negative on rushing yards and had only recorded 13 points due to the wizard that is K Connor Martin’s two FGs and RB John Lovett’s seven-yard rushing score. Brewer was eight of 16 attempts for 109 yards and two TDs. Brewer’s first pass of the game was a 52-yard TD to true freshman RB/freak athlete Trestan Ebner for his second career TD to make the score 38-20 with 13 minutes left in the game. Freshman walk-on kicker Jay Sedwick attempted and gloriously completed an onside kick recovered by Baylor S Chance Waz and the Bears easily had another offensive attempt to score points. At the end of the drive, Brewer handed the ball off to Ebner and he took off downfield to score his second TD of the night on a 40-yard run. The Baylor defense held the Mountaineers to another punt and Brewer and co. created decent field position for another Martin FG (which he made, of course). Within the first seven minutes of the fourth, the Bears were back in the game, down only eight points with a 38-30 score. As Baylor got the ball back for the final four minutes, Brewer marched the team down the field and completed a nine-yard TD pass to Ebner for his third TD of the night, putting the Bears within two points of the Mountaineers. Baylor attempted the two-point conversion, but Brewer was sacked in the last few seconds.
Although the Bears didn’t complete the magical comeback of the season, the fought tooth and nail to catch up to West Virginia. Even when they were down 25 points going into the fourth quarter, they never gave up and nearly forced overtime against a nationally ranked opponent. I’m proud of how hard they worked and I know the wins will come in no time!