The lone undefeated team in the Big 12, the Baylor Bears go back on the road for their 4th road game of the 2014 season. This time, they go up to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the 4-2 Mountaineers. West Virginia is 4-2 on the year, but both losses have been to Top-11 ranked teams. They first lost to Alabama on a neutral field to open the year when the Tide were ranked 2nd in the nation. The Mountaineers then lost a tough home game against the 4th ranked Sooners to open Big 12 conference play. So, as the Bears get ready for their 4th road trip in 5-games, what are 5-things for Baylor fans to know?
1. While the Mountaineers losses have been to top-ranked teams, their wins are not the strongest. They do boast a good victory over Maryland who is 4-1, but the other three teams they have beaten are a combined 6-13. Their most recent win was this past weekend over Texas Tech, where the Mountaineers needed a 17-point run to overcome a 14 point deficit in the fourth quarter. Sophomore kicker Josh Lambert nailed a career-long 55-yard field goal as time expired to cap the furious comeback. The Mountaineers are receiving votes in both polls (31st in AP Poll, 33rd in Coaches Poll)
2. The Bears will be facing one of the most improved offensive units in the country in back-to-back weeks. TCU is at the top of the charts, but West Virginia is right behind them, gaining 141.4 more offensive yards per game than they did in 2013. They are also scoring about 10 more points per game. The key to the improvement has been the health and comfort of senior quarterback Clint Trickett. The second year player for West Virginia has over 2200 yards passing, and and has seen his yards per attempt (6.9 to 8.7), touchdowns (7 to 12) and interceptions (7 to 4) all improve this year.
West Virginia WR Kevin White
3. The star of the Mountaineers offense though is wide receiver Kevin White, probably the offensive player of the year so far in the Big 12. The senior receiver has 61 catches and 888 yards to go along with 5 touchdowns. He has had over 100 yards in each game, and a touchdown in all but 1. His 148 yards per game is the best in the nation by over 17 yards. In their two losses, White has caught 19 balls for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has given them big play ability and also been clutch for them on third downs. Against the Bears in 2013, he was the lone bright spot in a 73-42 loss, catching 7 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
4. While the West Virginia offense has taken a big step forward, the defense is still struggling to consistently stop the opposition. They are 76th in scoring (27.2 points per game). The main issues has been their rush defense, which gives up 180 yards per game and 4.83 yards per carry. In the two games they have lost, they have allowed 288 yards on the ground to Alabama and 301 to Oklahoma. They even gave up 217 yards to a Texas Tech rushing attack that had struggled for most of the season.
5. The last two games between Baylor and West Virginia have both seen the winner break the 70 point barrier. The Mountaineers won in 2012 in one of the most ridiculous offensive games ever seen; a 70-63 win that saw over 1500 total yards of offense between the two teams. IN 2013, it was more of a one-sided game, with the Bears putting up 73 points and building a 66-21 lead before the 4th quarter saw West Virginia score 3 touchdowns. In that game, the Bears had two different 100 yards rushers and two other runners with more than 50 yards on the ground.