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Baylor vs. WVU -- The Morning After -- Highlights, Links, Notes, Tweets

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The undefeated run for the 2014 Baylor Bears is over, and it's time to regroup going into the bye.

Justin K. Aller

27
BAYLOR
(6-1, 3-1) 4/4
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH F
13 7 7 0 27
7 17 3 14 41

Box ScoreUSATSI Gallery

Morgantown, W.Va. • Attendance: 60,758

41
W. VIRGINIA
(5-2, 3-1) RV/RV

Players of the Game:

Even in a loss, we can find players that took care of their business and deserve recognition.

K Chris Callahan -- 2/2 on FGs and now 6/6 in his last two games.

LB Bryce Hager -- 13 tackles, 1 TFL
LB Taylor Young -- 12 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks
DT Andrew Billings -- 8 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

And that's it.  I'm not giving anyone on the offense a "Player of the Game" honor here.

Quick Thoughts:

I have about a million things running through my mind after this game, not all of them terrible.  Many are, though.

My big takeaway from this game has nothing to do with the defense, which was tasked with defending probably the best QB-WR combo in the conference in Clint Trickett and Kevin White and simply proved incapable of doing so repeatedly.  One of the big reasons for that was the officiating; by my count, Baylor was flagged 7 times for pass interference with 5 occurring on drives that eventually led to WVU points.  I've said this now in multiple places and I'll say it again: if you're going to call the game that way, with any physicality whatsoever between WRs and DBs drawing flags, Baylor's defense simply will not be successful.  We do not have the luxury of 4/5* CB recruits who are fast and agile enough to stick with WRs in man coverage without some physical contact, and we rarely give much, if any, safety help over the top.  That's the way we play.  Our scheme is designed to force incomplete passes and quick opposing drives, giving the ball back to our offense as often as possible.  Penalties counteract that scheme, extending drives that would otherwise falter and rewarding the offense for doing exactly what we want them to, which is throw passes they probably shouldn't.  We saw it happen repeatedly in the Fiesta Bowl, the last game Baylor lost before yesterday, and we saw it in Morgantown.

If that happens and our defense's main goal becomes impossible, our offense has to step up to simply outscore our opponent.  That obviously didn't happen yesterday for a number of reasons, the biggest being that we were once again unable to run the ball early with any success.  That failure put the game in the hands of Bryce Petty, who was simply awful once again and is starting to show a lot of flaws, missing open receivers that he should have hit, taking sacks he shouldn't have taken, and giving us little chance to sustain offense.  We should have known there was a big problem brewing when we only scored 13 points off 3 early turnovers.  That should have been a really bad sign.

My biggest concern about this team right now is on the offensive line.  I've danced around this problem so far this season and can't avoid it any more: our running game has taken a big step back from recent years, and that's a problem.  So much of what we do is predicated on the play action, the threat of running the ball, that when that threat is basically irrelevant, we're not very good.  Sure, we can still light it up through the air against teams incapable of covering our receivers, but it's not the Baylor offense we've come to know and love.  That's where we are at this moment with two starting OL out for the rest of the year and a LG situation that hasn't worked out nearly as well as we hoped.  That's a big problem.

I'm trying not to overreact to one game where we lost on the road to a team that is probably really good, believe me.  As we talked about over and over again, the chances of going undefeated were never honestly that good, and we knew going to places like Morgantown and Norman would be tough.  Baylor can still do a lot of good things this season including win the Big 12 for the second year in a row.  If things break our way, we can still even rebound to make the CFB Playoff, maybe.  I'm not jumping off the Baylor ship or saying that the season is lost, by any stretch.  But it is changed, and that's something we're going to have to deal with, especially on the offensive line.

Mark Seymour's Top 11:

Doing this out of force of habit more than anything else.

1. Mississippi St. Bulldogs
2. Ole Miss Rebels
3. Florida State Seminoles
4. Oregon Ducks
5. Alabama Crimson Tide
6. TCU Horned Frogs
7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
8. Michigan State Spartans
9. Auburn Tigers
10. Kansas State Wildcats
11. Baylor Bears

I'm basically scattershooting for most of that, so don't kill me.  Yes, I know I have Oregon in at #4 now after not including them at all a week ago.  I think I overreacted to their OL struggles that have since gotten a lot better when their LT returned from injury, plus they still have possibly the best player in the country in Marcus Mariota.  That helps quite a bit.

Also, I know that the rankings have already come out this morning and Baylor is #13 in the Coaches Poll.  I'll get to that later.

2014 college football rankings, Week 9: Compiling the Top 25s - SBNation.com
We'll update this post after noon ET, when the Coaches Poll comes out, and after 2 p.m. ET, when the AP Poll arrives. Also, last week's rankings are at the bottom of this post.

LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS LINKS

What happened Saturday, Oct. 18 in college football: Scores and 3 big things to know - SBNation.com
A team you probably hate won a big game Saturday night, another team you probably hate is still alive, the Big 12 is devouring itself, and the countdown is on at Florida. Full FBS scores and fun stuff below!

College Football Playoff threat watch: Where the state of Mississippi is the safest bet - SBNation.com
An instantaneous survey of five teams in the best position for the College Football Playoff's four spots at this very moment, plus the biggest threats looming for each.

Upsets in Big 12 may cost the league a playoff spot - CBSSports.com
Baylor and Oklahoma losing has cast doubt on the Big 12 being able to land a place in the playoff

Penalties, Kevin White help West Virginia upset Baylor - NFL.com
There wasn't a comeback left in Baylor as penalties and running-game woes helped West Virginia and wideout Kevin White upset the Bears in Morgantown.

Baylor vs. West Virginia final score: 3 things we learned from the Mountaineers' 41-27 upset - SBNation.com
The Mountaineers threw a huge wrench in the Big 12 title race on Saturday.

2015 NFL Draft: Baylor's Bryce Petty's spread flaws show in loss at WVU - CBSSports.com
West Virginia's Clint Tickett outplays Baylor QB Bryce Petty. Like all spread offense QBs, there are NFL concerns about Petty, and he does nothing to quell those issues playing against an active defense.

Baylor notebook: Under 30 points, Bears struggle; Baker injured; Callahan shines - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Bears Football
MORGANTOWN, W.Va — Thirty points is usually a baseline for Baylor. Teams don’t hold the Bears under that mark very often.

How Dana Holgorsen got his groove back (by beating Baylor) | NCAA Football | Sporting News
NCAA college football news, standings, trade rumors, scores, schedules and more 2012-13 coverage on Sporting News.

Baylor Bears vs. West Virginia Mountaineers - Recap - October 18, 2014 - ESPN
NCAA College Football Recap

TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS TWEETS

This wasn't a joke-- I watched a ton of football yesterday and saw game after game that was simply called differently than our own, including another (TCU-OSU) in our same conference.

I think I'm done here.