Bits and Bytes: WVU - Baylor

Our final roundup of notes and observations as WVU prepares to face the best of the three top five teams it has played to date.

RARITY

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty has been intercepted six times in his entire career. Which Mountaineer holds the only WVU pick of the prolific QB, who has offset those six picks with 48 touchdown passes?


STREAKS

WVU QB Clint Trickett has thrown for 300+ yards in seven consecutive games. WR Kevin White has surpassed the 100 yard receiving mark in six consecutive games. Both are school records, but which string is more likely to expire first?

Obviously, the two are tied together somewhat, as White's totals will contribute to those of Trickett's, but the guess here is that if either string does go, it will be White's that snaps first. If an opposing defense commits to full-on double coverage or always keeps a safety over the top on White's side of the field, it could take him out of the game. That should leave other options for the QB to hit, however, and more chances to add to his yardage totals.


HIT OR MISS

While the 58 points allowed by Baylor to TCU has grabbed a lot of attention, it should also be noted that the Bears are tied for fourth nationally with more than six three-and-out defensive series per game. That shows a BU defense that might give up some points, but also one that can get the ball back quickly for its offensive counterparts. West Virginia must avoid such series, and even when it doesn't score, at least move the ball and flip field position. If the Mountaineers have six three-and-out offensive possessions, it's going to be almost impossible to win the game.


PRO NOTICE

While the number of NFL draft picks a school has is not always the best indicator of that team's success in college play, it is interesting to note that since 2011, Baylor has had more players selected in the NFL Draft than any other Texas school. That's just one measuring stick, but it does indicate that BU is either getting deeper talent than any other school, or that the stats being put up bu its players have dazzled some NFL scouts.


NOT SMALL

Wendell Smallwood's 123 rushing yards against Texas Tech could wind up being even bigger than the impetus it provided for WVU's win in that game.

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Smallwood's production had leveled off a bit over the past couple of games, and had been more restricted to a role in the passing game. Against Tech (and an admittedly bad defense), Smallwood reestablished himself as a threat in the rushing game. That could help WVU in future games, because foes won't be able to key on him as just a pass receiver. If he lines up in the backfield, he can't be tagged as just a pass protection blocker or receiver slipping out into routes. Opponents will now have to account for him as a runner, especially on delays and draws that work off WVU's passing game action.

While this might not pay dividends immediately, Smallwood's versatility is now something that defenses will have to account for. In a close game, ignoring that could lead to the one additional big play that leads to a West Virginia win.


TALL TIMBER

Baylor's offensive line does not have a starter shorter than six feet five inches. Along with that towering height comes a great deal of talent, which is no small part of the Bears' offensive success. Headed by tackle Spencer Drango (6-6, 310 lbs.), Baylor has the best offensive line in the Big 12. BU swallowed up West Virginia's undersized defensive line a year ago, and the Mountaineers will have to increase their level of play by several orders of magnitude from that game in order to stay in this year's contest.


TRIVIA ANSWER

Daryl Worley intercepted Petty in Waco last season. Baylor suffered three interceptions on the evening, but Worley's pick was the only one obtained against the Bear star.


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