The Bears travel north to face West Virginia

After a 1-game respite from the road, the Bears go away from home once again. This time, they take on the surprising 4-2 West Virginia Mountaineers with both teams coming off of last second comeback wins.

The last game for both of these two teams were crazy. The Baylor Bears made up a 21 point deficit in just under 12 minutes to come back and win, while West Virginia made up a 14 point deficit in even less time to steal a win. The last time these two teams played in Morgantown though might make those two games look tame. A 70-63 offensive explosion left both team's defenses scratching their heads and fans exhausted from celebrating big offensive plays. It also gave the then new to the Big 12 Mountaineers their first ever win in Big 12 play. Since that game though, both teams fortunes have changed drastically, with the Mountaineers struggling to keep their team at the top of the polls, and the Bears becoming one of the best programs in the nation.

MEDIA INFORMATION
Matchup 4/4 BAYLOR (6-0, 3-0) at RV/RV WEST Virginia (4-2, 2-1)
Date Sat., Oct. 18 | 11:00 a.m. CT
Location Morgantown, W.Va. | Puskar Stadium (60,000)
TV FOX Sports 1
Radio ESPN Central Texas | Sirius 84 | XM 84
Online Audio Listen Online
Live Stats Gametracker
Gameday Info Gameday Central
Ticket Info Tickets
Game Notes Baylor Notes |WVU Notes
Twitter @BUFootball

Fun Stats of the Game

-You could pretty much just list the box score for 2012 here and call it a day (seriously, look at The OC for that game again, incredible).

-Baylor leads the FBS?in scoring offense (52.7 ppg) and total offense (622.5 ypg), while its defense is 25th nationally in scoring (20.0 ppg) and 10th in total defense (303.5 ypg).

-Baylor has won 9 of its last 11 games played outside of Waco with both losses coming vs. top-15 teams.

-WVU has produced a school-record five straight games with 500 or more yards of total offense.

-Clint Trickett has passed for 300 or more yards for a school-record seven straight games.

-The Bears have averaged 68 points per game the last two times they have faced West Virginia

Key Matchups

-Kevin White vs. Baylor secondary

The Bears will face an ncredibly difficult challenge in this game, facing off against one of the best receivers of the 2014 college season. White has been on fire this year, gaining at least 100 yards in every game, and getting in a touchdown in all but one. Will the Bears trust Xavien Howard to cover him one-on-one all over the field, or let Ryan Reid get a chance when the Mountaineers flip White to the other side of the formation? Will the Bears give safety help over the top, something that Texas Tech did with great results for the first 3 quarters of their game last week? How the Bears defend White will dictate a lot about what they can do in their blitz packages, and in defending the run.

-Baylor Runners vs. West Virginia Linebackers

The strength of the Mountaineer defense are their linebackers, led by Nick Kwiatkoski, a junior. They also have Wes Tonkery and Isaiah Bruce as well. This is a defense that puts a lot of pressure on their linebackers in their 3-4-4 defense, that actually might have closer to 5 linebackers out there at a time. The Bears runners have done a good job in the open field of making tacklers miss, but will have to get by better linebackers than they have seen this year, outside of TCU.

Analytical Breakdown

FEI Rank

8

56

F/+ Rank

7

50

S&P+ Rank

6

23

GE Rank

3

36

Sagarin

5

31

Massey

5

39

RealTime RPI

2

33

Team Rankings Rank

2

35

Average

4.75

37.86

For the first time all year, the Bears schedule won't get incrementally more difficult. West Virginia is a solid team, much better than most expected when the year began. However, they are not TCU. The Mountaineers two best games might be their losses to Alabama and Oklahoma. Both very close and respectable, West Virginia has needed field goals with time running out to beat two middling teams in Texas Tech and Maryland. So far in 2014, the Mountaineers have proven they can win close game and lose games against better teams.

Keys to the Game

1. Make someone other than Kevin White beat you

The one man that makes the Mountaineer offensive engine go is Kevin White. He has more than double anyone else's receving yards on the team, and has more receptions than the 2nd and 3rd best on the team combined. The 6-foot-3 senior has been a big play guy for the Mountaineers all season, with a 14.56 yards per catch average and 5 touchdowns. Simply put, the best way to slow down the 'Eers is to make someone else beat you. Their running game is getting better, with over 500 rushing yards in the last two games combined, but those were against Kansas and Texas Tech. The Bears will need to double White or at least rotate help over the top of him and make Clint Trickett look elsewhere for his big plays.

2. Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

The best way to get upset on the road, or really anywhere, is to be sloppy with ball control and give the opposition a few more chances to score. It hurts the Bears even more, as their offense needs rhythm and timing to get fully going, so turning the ball over and letting West Virginia control the clock can mess up that timing. If the Bears are even or better in turnover margin, I just don't West Virginia having the fire power to keep up with the Bears.

3. Make Special Teams Special Again

The Mountaineers are one of the best kick returning teams in the nation, while the Bears have struggled at times with their kickoff defense (See Catalon, BJ against TCU). Mario Alford has a 34.82 yards per return average and has already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. They are second in the nation in return average at 29.06 yards per return, while the Bears 98th in kickoff return defense (22.89 yards allowed per return). This is a big advantage for West Virginia. It is a good thing for the Bears to kickoff a lot (more kickoffs, more points on that scoreboard), but the Bears gameplan will have to be much better than kick it short to the 30 yards line and make an up-back catch it, which seems to be all we did late against TCU.

Predictions

Massey Ratings – Bears win 45-33

RealTime RPI – Bears win 43-34

TeamRankings.com – Bears win 44-36

Staff Predictions COMING SOON!


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