The Baylor Bears have just one game left in the 2016 regular season, their finale against West Virginia. When the schedule was released 9 months ago, many thought this would be another key game for the Bears, and a chance to win their 3rd Big 12 title in 4 years. With the season crumbling one week after another, the Bears are a loss away from finishing in 8th place in the Big 12, after starting the season 6-0 and ranking 8th in the nation.
Their fall might not be complete though, as one of the toughest tests of their schedule faces them. A tough December game in Morgantown against the surprising West Virginia Mountaineers is their last chance to redeem the last half of the season. The 9-2 Mountaineers have been the surprise of the Big 12, riding a good defense and an improved Skyler Howard.
They are a win away from tying their best season under coach Dana Holgorsen, and have already set their best record in Big 12 play. This is a team built on a senior led defense and the improving play of their senior quarterback, Skyler Howard. With an offense that is balanced in the run and pass game, their defense is designed to take away the inside run and the deep pass. That is what makes them so difficult for the Baylor Bears, since those are the two focus areas of attack for the Briles offense.
The Bears will need to play their best game of the season, and turn around the last 6-weeks on their head as West Virginia looks to get to 10-wins.
NR/NR/NR BAYLOR (6-5, 3-5) vs. 14/13/18 West Virginia (9-2, 6-2)
Dec. 3, 2016 | 2:30 p.m. CT
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- In its final regular season game, Baylor travels to Morgantown, W. Va., for a 2:30 p.m. CT contest against 14th-ranked West Virginia on FOX Sports 1.
- Baylor looks to snap a 5-game losing streak - its first since 2007 when the Bears suffered 8-straight losses to end the year.
- Baylor and West Virginia will meet for the 5th time Saturday. The series is tied 2-2, but WVU has won the only two meetings of the series in Morgantown (70-63, 2012 and 41-27, 2014).
- BU is 7-1 in the month of December since 2011.
- The Bears are just 2-3 away from Waco in 2016 and 2-2 in true road contests.
- BU has won 19 of its last 27 played outside of Waco, including 10 of its last 15 Big 12 away contests.
- Baylor is 13-5 in true road games over last 3+ years, after going 7-17 in the previous 5 years.
- True freshman QB Zach Smith will being make his 3rd-career start for injured senior QB Seth Russell. Smith has thrown for 635 yds (57-of-91) with 6 TDs and 4 INTs in his first two starts.
- BU?is facing its 2nd-ranked opponent of the season at West Virginia, but is 12-10 overall vs. AP?Top 25 teams since 2011. BU lost its first game against a ranked foe 45-24 at Oklahoma on Nov. 12.
Quick Look at West Virginia
- Head Coach.......................................Dana Holgorsen
- Alma Mater/Year................................ Iowa Wesleyan (‘93)
- Record at WVU ......................................... 45-30 (6th)
- Overall Record........................................ 45-30 (6th)
- Record Against Baylor............................. 2-2
What Happened Last Time
The Bears dominated in a 62-38 win in their first true test of the 2015 season. The second ranked Baylor Bears improved to a perfect 6-0 behind All-American Corey Coleman, who led them with 10 catches for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. Seth Russell, in his last full game of the 2015 season, put on his finest performance showing off his arm and legs. 380 yards passing with 5 touchdowns go to along with another 140 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. West Virginia came into the game as a Top-15 defense, but the Bears simply ran and threw all over them at will, and rang up 62 points.
Baylor's defense was disruptive all game, netting 10 tackles for loss as an injured Andrew Billings on one ankle did more than enough damage alongside KJ Smith and Brian Nance.