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First Look: West Virginia Mountaineers

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Baylor will have to put the excitement of a monumental comeback win behind them as the Bears travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the Mountaineers.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
at
4/4 BAYLOR (6-0, 3-0) at RV/RV WEST VIRGINIA (4-2, 2-1)
Oct. 18, 2014 | 11:00 a.m. CT
Morgantown, W.Va. | Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000)

TV: FOX Sports 1
Listen | Gametracker Gametracker | Game Notes Notes | Tickets Gameday Central

OPPONENT: West Virginia Mountaineers
ODB GAME HUB:
Baylor Bears vs. West Virginia Mountaineers 2014
ODB PREDICTS:
Baylor vs. WVU
MEET THE PRESS: Baylor vs. WVU
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WVUSports.com
WEST VIRGINIA MEDIA GUIDE: Click for .pdfs (depth chart pg. 16)
LAST MEETING71-42 Baylor win in 2013 | ODB Game Hub
LAST GAME (for WVU): 37-33 W vs. OU 71-
SB NATION BLOG: The Smoking Musket, at right
SPREAD: Baylor -8.5 (Open: Baylor -9.5)
TV COVERAGE:
FOX Sports 1
WEATHER FORECAST:
Cloudy skies with a few showers later in the day. High 57F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
BAYLOR UNIFORMS: Unknown

SB Nation WVU Preview
BaylorBears.com Preview
Bears vs Mountaineers coverage

These Are Not the 2013 Mountaineers

I'm going to get this out of the way now so we don't have to talk about it a million times this week: last year's game was last year and this year's, this year.  Baylor set all kinds of offensive records against the Mountaineers last year in an absolute beatdown of a game.  Don't expect that to happen again.  WVU is better on both sides of the ball, healthier, and will be playing at home in a place we've already seen them perform quite well.  I feel very confident that Baylor is the better team and that the stats will reflect that as we go through them, but if you're expecting a repeat of 2013, you will be disappointed.

West Virginia Mountaineers 2014 Schedule

August
@ Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, August 30 2014 loss 23-33 coverage
September
Towson Tigers Saturday, September 06 2014 win 54-0 coverage
@ Maryland Terrapins Saturday, September 13 2014 win 40-37 coverage
Oklahoma Sooners Saturday, September 20 2014 loss 33-45 coverage
October
Kansas Jayhawks Saturday, October 04 2014 win 33-14 coverage
@ Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday, October 11 2014 win 37-34 coverage
Baylor Bears Saturday, October 18 2014 12:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys Saturday, October 25 2014 12:00 PM EDT coverage
November
TCU Horned Frogs Saturday, November 01 2014 12:00 PM EDT coverage
@ Texas Longhorns Saturday, November 08 2014 12:00 PM EST coverage
Kansas State Wildcats Thursday, November 20 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
@ Iowa St. Cyclones Saturday, November 29 2014 12:00 PM EST coverage

WVU is 4-2 at the halfway point this season with losses to Alabama (at a neutral site game in Atlanta) and Oklahoma (at home).  I actually think they should be ranked based off what they've done, simply because I don't see a lot of difference between playing well and losing to those two teams and getting blown out (as A&M did) against Mississippi State and Ole Miss.  But that's none of my business.

WVU Individual Statistics in 2014

Quarterbacks
Passing
Rk Player Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
1 Clint Trickett 174 254 68.5 2203 8.7 8.9 12 4 153.8
2 William Crest 3 4 75.0 7 1.8 1.8 0 0 89.7
3 Skyler Howard 0 2 0.0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0.0
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2014.

DID YOU KNOW: By QB Rating, WVU's Trickett has actually been better this season than our own Bryce Petty?  Sure, it's by two-tenths of a rating point (153.8 to 153.6), but still.  Trickett has been very good this season, particularly by completion percentage, and leads the #2 passing offense by efficiency and yards per game in the Big 12.  Don't sleep on Clint Trickett, is what I'm saying, especially since he has possibly the best receiver in the conference at his disposal.

Running Backs
Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Rk Player Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
1 Rushel Shell 111 490 4.4 6 15 100 6.7 0 126 590 4.7 6
2 Wendell Smallwood 57 278 4.9 1 18 241 13.4 0 75 519 6.9 1
3 Dreamius Smith 27 109 4.0 1 1 4 4.0 0 28 113 4.0 1
4 Andrew Buie 23 119 5.2 1 23 119 5.2 1
5 Clint Trickett 20 -31 -1.6 1 20 -31 -1.6 1
6 Dustin Garrison 14 68 4.9 0 1 13 13.0 0 15 81 5.4 0
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2014.

Shell is the man on the ground for the Mountaineers, and he averages a shade under 20 carries per game.  Behind him is Wendell Smallwood, a very similar player in size that basically spells Shell to keep his usage down.  Both are extremely active in the passing game, much  more so than any of our running backs, and that's something our linebackers will have to account for in this game.

Wide Receivers
Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Rk Player Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
1 Kevin White 61 888 14.6 5 61 888 14.6 5
2 Mario Alford 1 19 19.0 0 34 411 12.1 4 35 430 12.3 4
3 Jordan Thompson 3 13 4.3 0 20 283 14.2 2 23 296 12.9 2
4 Wendell Smallwood 57 278 4.9 1 18 241 13.4 0 75 519 6.9 1
5 Daikiel Shorts 13 176 13.5 1 13 176 13.5 1
6 Rushel Shell 111 490 4.4 6 15 100 6.7 0 126 590 4.7 6
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 10/14/2014.

Simply put, Kevin White is going to be a problem for our defense.  He leads the country in receiving yards per game, receiving yards total (by more than 100 over #2), and is second in receptions per game with 10.2.  The easiest thing to do is definitely just put Xavien Howard on him no matter where he goes, but he's going to get his.  Oklahoma did basically that with Zack Sanchez, and White still caught 10 passes for 173 yards and 1 TD.  He is by any measure the most talented WR we will have faced this season, and I hope Howard has his big boy pants ready to play.

WVU Team Stats and Rankings

Statistic National
Rank
Conference
Rank
Value National Leader Value Conference
Leader
Value
3rd Down Pct 8 2 0.505 Georgia Tech 0.589 Kansas St. 0.508
3rd Down Pct Defense 41 5 0.354 Louisville 0.215 TCU 0.278
4th Down Pct 97 8 0.364 Georgia
Maryland
Minnesota
1.000
1.000
1.000
Baylor 0.783
4th Down Pct Defense 16 3 0.286 Alabama 0.000 Oklahoma St. 0.222
Blocked Kicks 33 4 1 Rutgers 5 Oklahoma St.
Oklahoma
3
3
Blocked Kicks Allowed 101 7 2 58 teams tied 0 Oklahoma St.
Iowa St.
Texas Tech
0
0
0
Blocked Punts 6 1 1 5 teams tied 2 Kansas St.
West Virginia
Oklahoma St.
1
1
1
Blocked Punts Allowed 1 1 0 103 teams tied 0 9 teams tied 0
Completion Percentage 10 1 0.681 UCLA 0.723 West Virginia 0.681
Fewest Penalties 26 3 30 Kansas St. 20 Kansas St. 20
Penalties Per Game 23 3 5.00 Navy 3.14 Kansas St. 4.00
Penalty Yards 46 3 293 Kansas St. 162 Kansas St. 162
Penalty Yards Per Game 46 3 48.83 New Mexico St. 26.57 Kansas St. 32.40
First Downs Defense 31 4 109 Louisville 84 Kansas St. 87
First Downs Offense 9 2 168 Texas A&M 196 Baylor 183
Fumbles Lost 111 10 8 UNLV
Kansas
0
0
Kansas 0
Fumbles Recovered FIU 16 Kansas
TCU
6
6
Kickoff Return Defense 113 8 24.54 Tulsa 13.94 Kansas St. 14.68
Kickoff Returns 2 2 29.06 Oklahoma 31.20 Oklahoma 31.20
Net Punting 97 9 35.48 Utah 45.20 Iowa St. 40.30
Passes Had Intercepted 30 3 4 Oregon
Washington
0
0
TCU
Kansas St.
3
3
Passes Intercepted 83 8 4 Louisville 14 Oklahoma 10
Passing Offense 7 2 368.3 Washington St. 490.0 Baylor 371.0
Passing Yards Allowed 41 3 213.7 San Jose St. 89.6 Texas 133.7
Passing Yards/Compl. 49 6 12.49 Navy 18.30 Baylor 16.13
Punt Return Defense 124 10 26.00 Memphis -0.67 TCU -0.50
Punt Returns 112 9 4.00 Florida 26.63 Kansas St. 24.70
Red Zone Defense 120 10 1.000 Temple 0.500 Texas 0.714
Red Zone Offense 98 9 0.769 UCLA 1.000 Oklahoma 0.958
Rushing Defense 86 7 179.3 Louisville 60.3 Kansas St. 81.4
Rushing Offense 51 5 183.8 Wisconsin 343.0 Baylor 251.5
Sacks Allowed 65 5 2.00 Michigan St. 0.50 Oklahoma
Texas Tech
0.83
0.83
Scoring Defense 75 8 27.2 Stanford 10.0 Baylor 20.0
Scoring Offense 28 6 36.7 Baylor 52.7 Baylor 52.7
Tackles for Loss Allowed 86 8 6.33 Baylor 2.83 Baylor 2.83
Passing Efficiency 24 2 151.63 Oregon 194.65 Baylor 163.01
Pass Efficiency Defense 37 5 115.82 San Jose St. 87.43 Texas 95.31
Team Sacks 106 10 1.33 Utah 5.60 TCU 3.80
Team Tackles for Loss 57 6 6.2 Utah 10.2 TCU 8.6
Time of Possession 62 4 29:58 Michigan St. 35:52 Kansas St. 33:06
Total Defense 67 7 393.0 Louisville 230.7 Baylor 303.5
Total Offense 8 2 552.2 Baylor 622.5 Baylor 622.5
Turnover Margin 118 9 -1.33 Washington 2.33 TCU 1.40
Turnovers Gained 122 10 4 FIU 24 Oklahoma
TCU
15
15
Turnovers Lost 84 9 12 Washington 1 Iowa St. 5
Winning Percentage 36 6 0.667 6 teams tied 1.000 Baylor 1.000

This will be Baylor's toughest road game of the season thus far.  WVU has a powerful passing offense led by Trickett and White, and a somewhat less imposing rushing offense.  That probably contributes directly to a lower scoring offense than you'd expect to see and a lot more trouble scoring in the red zone than they probably should have.  The Mountaineers are ranked 50th in the latest F/+ rankings, down 15 spots from last week, with the #26 offense and #74 defense.  S&P+ (where they are 23rd) likes them considerably more than FEI (56th).

QUESTION TIME!

  • FIRST -- Do you have any specific questions about WVU that we can have answered? I'm doing a Q&A with the WVU site later this week that would be a perfect opportunity to ask.
  • SECOND -- How are you feeling about the Bears coming off the comeback win over TCU?  Do you think there will be any kind of hangover from that kind of game?
  • THIRD -- How scared are you of WVU's Kevin White (to say nothing of TCU's Kevin White, who tried to rip Antwan Goodley's head from his shoulders)?
  • FOURTH -- Shock Linwood.  That's not a question, per se, as much as a prompt. 
  • FIFTH -- What uniform combo do you want to see this week against the Mountaineers?