A View of Mountaineer Field from the Goodyear Blimp
Next Up: The Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater Oklahoma Saturday October 25th at 3:30 PM on ESPN
This was one of those games that you needed to be at to fully appreciate it. The game could not have begun any worse for the Mountaineers than it did. Wendell Smallwood took the opening kick about 3 yards deep in the end zone and instead of downing the ball and beginning the drive at the 25 yard line, Wendell decides to bring the ball out and gets trapped at the 9 yard line. The young men need to understand that starting the drives on the 25 yard line these days is an acceptable beginning. Well three plays later the unthinkable happens Clint Trickett is sacked by the Bears 300lb sophomore defensive tackle Andrew Billings, fumbles the football and Baylor starts their first drive on the Mountaineer 7 yard line. On first down Bryce Petty found sophomore tailback Corey Coleman for a 7 yard touchdown and just like that at the 14:04 mark it was 7-0 Bears. Spotting this offense a 7 point lead could have been devastating in what most of us in attendance believed would be a “Who has the ball last shootout” as I wasn’t sure if anybody could truly stop the Baylor offense. In any event you NEVER want to give this team any help.
This Mountaineer team was undaunted by the error and took the ensuing kick and marched 81 yards on just 7 plays with Clint Trickett finding Kevin White with a 36 yard touchdown pass and we were all tied at 7-7. After both teams traded punts the Bears took a 10-7 lead on a 38 yard field goal by their talented freshman kicker Chris Callahan. After the ensuing Mountaineer drive ended with a Trickett being intercepted by Xavien Howard at midfield and after driving to the WVU 12 yard line the Bears settled for another Callahan field goal of 34 yards and at the end of the 1st quarter it was 13-7 Baylor lead and I was concerned that the Mountaineers cannot go down by two scores to this team or it could start to get out of hand as the WVU offense may start to press. Well on the first play of the 2nd quarter Baylor punted to the WVU 29 where cornerback Daryl Worley made a very awkward attempt to field the punt and fumbled it with Jimmy Landes recovering for the Bears at the WVU 29 and it this point I was certain we were looking at a 20-7 Baylor lead or at the very least a 16-7 lead but either way it would be a 2 score lead for the Bears. However………….In what I believe was the first turning point in the game on 4th and 7 from the WVU 26 yard line the Bears decided to go for it and Bryce Petty’s pass to Antwan Goodley was incomplete and it was still a 6 point Baylor lead. Why coach Art Briles would not want a 9 point lead is hard to figure? This would have been a 43 yard field goal, certainly within the range or young Chris Callahan but instead they get nothing and the Mountaineers dodge another bullet from a special team’s error.
After stopping the Bears on downs the resurgent Mountaineer offense proceeded to march 74 yards on just 6 plays with Andrew Buie diving over the top from a yard out at suddenly with 10:56 to go in the first half the Mountaineers had survived three turnovers that led to Baylor points yet still led this football game at 14-13.The key play on the drive was a 37 yard pass to Kevin White to the Baylor 36 yard line. On the ensuing kick the Bears answered the Mountaineer touchdown and reclaimed the lead on a 63 yard touchdown pass from Petty to Antwan Goodley and just like that it was 20-14 Baylor. On that touchdown play the Bears running back Corey Coleman was flagged for targeting for a hit on Terrell Chestnut and ejected from the game however after a review of the play the call was overturned.
After trading punts the EER’s would march 66 yards on just 5 plays from their own 34 yard line and take the lead on a 9 yard Dreamius Smith touchdown run and with 4:21 to go in the first half it was 21-20 West Virginia. Smith carried the ball on all 5 plays in that drive. After failing to move the ball on the ensuing kick the Bears got a 69 yard punt from Spensor Roth to the Mountaineer 9 yard line. This was the 2nd series that WVU put NOBODY back on punt return as a statement to the special teams that at least they will be sure to have the ball if nobody is back there to fumble it! Of course after the first time the Mountaineer coaches did this Art Briles staff was smart enough to have Roth kick line drives for extra distance. Starting from the 9 yard line the Mountaineer offense drove 54 yards in 10 plays and ended the half with a boom as sophomore placekicking sensation Josh Lambert banged home a 54 yard field goal and a 24-20 West Virginia lead at the break. Jordan Thompson would get the message and be back returning punts the rest of the game with no more turnovers. The 54 yard field goal by Lambert was his 4th 50+ field goal of the season 52, 54, 55 and 54. Unbelievable!
On their first possession of the 2nd half the Mountaineers drove to the Baylor 8 yard line an were threatening to take a 2 score lead but the drive stalled and they settled for a 24 yard Lambert field goal and a 27-20 lead. With 4:29 to go in the third quarter the Bears would tie this one up on a 9 play 91 yard drive ending with a one yard Shock Linwood touchdown run and it was a 27-27 game. At this point I was thinking this is easily the best game the Mountaineers have played in their three seasons in the Big 12 as they simply were coming to play on every snap against an outstanding football team. It was such a great game to watch unfold and here we were tied as we enter the 4th quarter. After trading punts the 1st two series of the 4th quarter the Mountaineers got back on the board at the 11:36 mark on a 4 play 68 yard drive highlighted by a slant pattern to Andrew Buie across the middle for 42 yards to the Baylor 14 and 2 plays later Clint Trickett found Kevin White for a 12 yard touchdown and a 34-27 West Virginia lead. On the touchdown pass the Bears were called for defensive pass interference for 5th time attempting to cover Kevin White but the flag was of course declined as he caught the TD pass anyway.
After a Baylor punt the Mountaineer offense would come right back at put this one away with a 9 play 78 yard touchdown drive that ended with a 39 yard touchdown pass from Clint Trickett to Mario Alford. Trickett hit the rocket in stride and he simply smoked the defenders on the way to the house and with 7:35 to go in the game the Mountaineers held a stunning 41-27 lead over the #4 team in the nation. Of course we all knew there was still a lot of football to play as 7:35 is more time than the Bears had to come back on TCU the week before but the Mountaineer defense would have none of it and the vaunted Baylor Bears offense would have just one more chance to get back in it but on 4th goal from the WVU 18 Petty’s pass to Stan Lee was out of bounds and the Mountaineers would run out the clock an secure their biggest victory since the upset of the #3 Oklahoma Sooners in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.
It was an incredible moment standing and watching the players singing “Country Roads” and then taking their victory lap before a still full Milan Puskar Stadium. It was once again a GREAT day to be a Mountaineer where ever you may be!!
POSITIVES & NEGATIVES:
Well the Positives were once again the outstanding performances from the usual suspects on offense with Clint Tricket completing 23 of 35 passes for 322 yards and 3 touchdowns against one pick. This was the 7th consecutive game this season of throwing for better than 300 yards.On the season Tricket has now completed 197 of 289 passes (68.2% completions) for 2525 yards and 15 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions. Clint could well be on his way to a 4000 yard passing season.
Kevin White caught 8 passes for 132 yards and two BIG touchdowns. There were I believe 5 defensive pass interferrence calls against Baylor while attempting to cover White one on one. There would have been a 6th call but White caught the touchdown pass anyway. On the season the nations leading reciever has caught 69 passes for 1020 yards and 7 touchdowns. If you could add the yarding gained by defensive pass interferrence calls while attempting to cover Kevin White the 6' 2" 215 lb senior would already have nearly 1500 yards recieving.
Lets not for get Mario Alford as the "Morgantown Missle" caught only 4 passes for 53 yards but the 39 yard touchdown pass to put this one away was a thing of beauty. On the season Mario has caught 38 passes for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 'Supporting role" to Kevin White.
The Mountaineer tailbacks did a great job of stepping up when they needed to kill some clock and keep the Baylor defenders honest. When Rushel Shell went out of the game early in the 1st quarter with a foot injury it was very concerning but Wendall Smallwood, Dreamius Smith and Andrew Buie really stepped up when needed.
And of course the story of the game the WVU defense was ambsolutely in control of this football game and it was a beautiful thing to see. On the 10 possessions the Bears had in the second half the Mountaineer defenders allowed one touchdown while forcing 8 punts and a turnover on downs. Complete control of the second half. This Baylor team that is used to moving the ball at will was just 3 of 16 on third down coversions for the game and 0-2 on 4th down conversion attempts. WOW!!!!!
As for Negatives, of course we could talk about a few special teams errors and too many penalties (14 for 138 yards) but after a game like this it really is hard to look at anything as a negative.
Next week a tough road trip to Stillwater Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys at 2:30 pm on ESPN. The Cowbows are coming off a brutal 42-9 loss at the hands of TCU so they will be rather Pissed Off!! Another opportunity for the #22 Ranked Mountaineers to take another step forward.
You know with 5:55 to go in the forth quarter in Lubbock Texas trailing Texas Tech 34-20 it looked like this WVU football team would do well to finish 7-5 or even 6-6 and go to a "fleabag bowl" in some undesireable part of the country. Now after this upset they are in line to make a run at a Big 12 title and a Fiesta Bowl appearance. The two toughest games remaining on the schedule are at Mountaineer Field against TCU on November 1st and Kansas State on Thursday Night November 20th.
USA Today Coaches Poll
|Game Date||Game Time||Opponent/Location||Event||Televised||Game Score|
|08/30/14||3:30 PM|| Alabama
|Chick-fil-A Classic||ABC||West Virginia 23|
#2 Alabama 33
|09/06/14||7:30 PM|| Towson
|Non League Game||Root Sports||West Virginia 54|
College Park, MD
|Big Ten Network||West Virginia 40|
|09/20/14||7:30 PM|| Oklahoma
|Big 12 Game||FOX||West Virginia 33|
|10/04/14||4:00 PM|| Kansas
|Big 12 Game |
|FOX Sports Network||West Virginia 33|
|Big 12 Game||Fox Sports 1||West Virginia 37|
Texas Tech 34
|Big 12 Game||Fox Sports 1||West Virginia 41|
|10/25/14||3:30 PM||Oklahoma State
|Big 12 Game||ESPN||West Virginia |
|Big 12 Game||TBD||West Virginia
|Big 12 Game||TBD||West Virginia |
|11/20/14||7:30 PM||Kansas State
|Big 12 Game |
|FOX Sports1||West Virginia |
|Big 12 Game||TBD||West Virginia |