West Virginia Wins First Game Against Big 12 Opponent - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

West Virginia Wins First Game Against Big 12 Opponent

Michael Ploger, MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia Mountaineers first game in the Big 12 Conference was a straight shootout to the finish.  When the clock struck triple zeros, West Virginia came out on top with a final score of 70-63

It was all offense, all day, for alumni back from homecoming weekend.  With offensive records being shattered by several players, there was not a moment of slowing down for either team.

"Not every Big 12 offense is like this," said head coach Dana Holgorsen about the new conference.  "It was a situation where both offenses were playing at a pretty high level.  It's going to be fast paced and a lot of good offenses."

Geno Smith had one of the best games of his brilliant career.  Throwing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns on 45 for 51 passing, he continued his stellar senior season.

School records set by Smith include consecutive pass completions (14), most touchdowns, passing yards, and completions in a game.

Holgorsen joked, "Can you please tell me how you can improve on that?  He played well."

Receiving those passes were mostly Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.

Bailey broke the single game record for receiving yards as he compiled 303 yards by the end of the game.  He also broke the record for touchdown catches with five catches that went to the end zone.  He is now at the top of the WVU list for touchdowns in a career with 26.

Tavon Austin passed his single game best performance as he had 14 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns.  He now sits second on all-time touchdown receptions, as well as second in yards in a single game.  He did manage a record he can hold himself with a WVU record of 14 catches in a game.

There was still a strong running game for West Virginia.  Andrew Buie continued to carry the load while Shawne Alston still battles injury.  Buie ran for 82 yards on 25 carries and scored two times.

The offenses of both teams found success throughout the game, despite a interception by Darwin Cook on the first drive of the game.  Cook also forced an incompletion in the third quarter that started a Mountaineer rally.

There was little to say about either defense in this game.  The Mountaineers gave up scoring plays of 67, 65, and 37 yards throughout the game.  The defensive backs struggled to keep up with the attack from Baylor receivers.

Baylor's offense racked up 700 yards of total offense.  Nick Florence was overshadowed by Geno Smith, but still had a day any quarterback would wish for.  He threw for 581 yards on 29 completions with five touchdowns.

The 63 points scored by Baylor is the most any opponent has scored at Milan Puskar Stadium.

With one play for Baylor before halftime, the Bears managed a 67 yard pass to Lanear Sampson as time expired.  At the time, it was a huge play that brought the game to a tie before the Mountaineers received the ball in the second half.

"When there's six or seven seconds left you can't let that happen," said Holgorsen.  "We have young safeties.  We have true freshman back there.  They made some mistakes and we have to get better."

The Mountaineers jumped out to a 21 point lead in the third quarter, their largest lead of the day.  It didn't last long as the Bears scored two straight touchdowns to tighten the score at seven points apart.

WVU continued to score on nearly every possession, making a comeback for Baylor impossible.  The Bears defense, which ranked third to last in college football prior to this game, had no answers for Dana's Holgorsen's offense.

Baylor missed two field goals in the game, while WVU's Tyler Bitcancurt missed a 50-yard attempt.

The Mountaineers head to Austin, Texas next week for their first true road game.

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