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Final: WVU 38, Baylor 36

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I didn’t have anything written for this.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not kidding; I didn’t have anything prepared for the fourth quarter of this game. Through three, I had a long, meandering post-game post that invoked Unsolved Mysteries and questioned everything about existence. Then we scored 23 points in a row behind true freshman QB Charlie Brewer to earn a 2-point try to send the game to overtime, and all that went into the trash.

A few stats to throw at you: Baylor had negative rushing yards until Brewer came in on the last play of the third quarter. We finished with 127. True freshman Trestan Ebner didn’t have a single touchdown going into the fourth quarter. He finished with 3. Brewer came into this game with 7 career attempts and no TDs. He finished with 8 completions (on 13 attempts) and 2 TDs.

In the fourth quarter of tonight’s game, I think we finally saw what Baylor wants to be on offense. With a running QB at the helm, the rushing offense opened up, and the OL wasn’t so much of a problem. WVU’s defense, which had bottled us up completely through three quarters, was on its heels the rest of the way. When plays broke down, Brewer could make something happen on his own, converting two different fourth downs with his legs when everything else failed. It doesn’t take tremendous schematic knowledge to know that the Brewer-led offense just looked more dynamic than what we saw before.

I love Zach Smith. When things fell apart last season after Seth Russell got hurt, he led us to a bowl win against Boise State. He’s performed extremely well at certain points this season, including against OU when he outplayed Baker Mayfield. He earned that #8 jersey, and nobody can take it away from him. But at this point, given what we’ve seen, if we don’t have a full-blown QB controversy, I don’t know what to say. The offense is just different with Brewer in the game because of his mobility. He doesn’t have Zach’s howitzer of an arm, but I’m not sure he needs to in order to be successful. I don’t know; I’m being pulled in different directions and trying not to overreact.

Through three quarters tonight, Baylor looked about as bad as you can imagine from a team that came in 0-6. One quarter later, we look like a team with a future again-- something to look forward to. There are still tremendous problems on defense, particularly in the secondary, but even that side played better when the offense came alive.

Every week I’ve been looking to see one thing: improvement. I want to see a team that is getting better under Matt Rhule every time they play. Through three quarters, I didn’t think that’s what we were. Now I do again.