GAME PREVIEW: No. 23 WVU Travels to Winless Baylor - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

GAME PREVIEW: No. 23 WVU Travels to Winless Baylor

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By Ryan Decker

Winners of four out of their last five games, the No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers (4-2) enter this weekend in much better spirits than host Baylor (0-6).

WVU will hope to carry over momentum from its comeback win over Texas Tech from last weekend, whereas the Bears will hope to reverse fate from their lopsided loss at the hands of Oklahoma State.

Not only have the Bears not won a game this year, but they have failed to get in the win column in each of their last twelve regular season games. Despite a year-long stretch of losing, WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said on Tuesday they wouldn’t be taking Baylor lightly.

“For nine straight weeks and hopefully 10, you better play really good or you’re going to get beat,” he said. “That makes it hard. I don’t care if you’re playing a 1-1 Tech team or an 0-3 Baylor team in conference. I don’t view it any differently.”

All around, though, West Virginia is the better team.

Offensively, the Mountaineers are scoring, on average, nearly 20 points more per game than Baylor, and has been outgaining the Bears by over 150 yards per game.

One thing Baylor continues to do well, though, is have explosive plays. Baylor leads all of Division-1 with seven plays this year that have traveled 70 yards or more.

Wide receiver Denzel Mims is the biggest weapon for starting quarterback Zach Smith.

Mims ranks second in the Big 12 in receiving touchdowns (7) and is sixth in receiving yards (553). He hauled in three of those scoring grabs and 193 receiving yards on seven total catches against Oklahoma earlier this year.

Defensively, Baylor ranks near the bottom of the conference in almost all categories and is the only team in the Big 12 worse than WVU at stopping the run.

The Bears have surrendered 15 rushing touchdowns this season, including five against Oklahoma State. West Virginia has rushed for 13 scores.

One thing Baylor has excelled at is stopping plays in the backfield, ranking third in the conference in tackles for loss (40).

Clay Johnston leads the way for Baylor in that category with nine, which is also third in the Big 12.

Johnston and company will try to contain a Mountaineer offense that played one of its most efficient halves of the season last Saturday to pull off the comeback.

Quarterback Will Grier continues to complete a high percentage of his passes, targeting Gary Jennings the most often. David Sills V has become one of the top wideouts in college football, leading the nation in receiving touchdowns with 12, which is three more than any other player.

Ka’Raun White has been making great strides as of late, turning in back-to-back games in which he’s eclipsed 100 receiving yards. He has already matched his touchdown total from last year.

Justin Crawford and the WVU running back group will be looking for a bounce-back performance. Crawford himself was held under the century mark in rushing yards for the first time in the regular season since last November.

However, last year in the regular season finale, Crawford ran for 209 yards against the Bears.

Kickoff between West Virginia and Baylor is set for 8 p.m. E.T. on FS2.

Fans can listen to pregame coverage of the game on u92.wvu.edu immediately following the WVU D-1 Hockey team’s game, which will also be broadcasted there.  

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