Such is life on a three-game skid, even with that coming against teams ranked 17th, 14th and second. As Holgorsen is fond of noting, such is life in the Big 12. So the topics this week included Baylor’s Corey Coleman, who Holgorsen described as the best receiver in the college game, his thoughts on the Bears overall skillset and ability to run roughshod over the rest of the conference, and the abilities of TCU’s Josh Doctson, yet another game-breaking threat to the Mountaineer defense.
“Extremely quick, extremely fast,” Holgorsen said of Coleman, a Scout.com four-star recruit who racked up 10 catches for 199 yards and three scores against WVU and has 41 receptions for 877 yards (21.4 ypc) and a school-record 16 touchdowns over just six games. “His strength is above average, can run away from you, ball skills are good, he’ s versatile. He’s as good as I have seen. We had a guy around here by the name of Tavon Austin, and (Coleman) looks a lot like Tavon Austin, except for a much stronger build.”
Holgorsen was asked how to slow Baylor, at least enough to have opportunities to stay in the game, and how much the abilities of quarterback Seth Russell to run affects the defensive approach and play selection. It was then that the coach handicapped the Big 12 race the remainder of the season.
“With due respect to coach (Bob) Stoops at Oklahoma and coach (Mike) Gundy at Oklahoma State, Baylor is pretty good,” Holgorsen said. “You’re going to have to outscore them, and they are going to make some stops. The nose guard (Andrew Billings) is as good as I have seen. He’s very disruptive. They have a lot of guys who will play in the NFL a long time.
“Keeping (Shock) Linwood in check to the tune of still almost a 100-yard running back, he averaged 4.5 yards per carry, I guess that’s containing them somewhat. You gotta kinda get some decent numbers in the box and when you do that you still have to account for the quarterback. Then they throw it outside. Russell, we knew he had some athleticism, some mobility, then he gets outside and he is as fast as your guys. We thought we had the run game in check until they started doing that.”
Baylor eventually amassed 62 points and 693 total yards on the way to a 19th straight home win, the NCAA’s longest current streak. The Bears had more than 300 passing and running, and Russell accounted for 389 in the air and an amazing 160 on the ground. Yet the Mountaineers remained in the contest until midway through the third quarter, when a series of miscues on both offense and defense combined to allow Baylor to put up five touchdowns in the second half.
WVU gets yet another top five test a week from Thursday, when it plays its third road game in four outings at TCU on Oct. 29. The Horned Frogs are already 7-0, 4-0 in the Big 12 and like the Mountaineers have an open week prior to the match-up. The last three match-ups, all in Big 12 play, have been decided by a combined five points with the road team winning each. TCU isn’t as explosive as Baylor, but offers multiple talented skill position players mixed with a defense beginning to find footing after losing seven starters in portions of the early season.
The Horned Frogs come off consecutive league road wins over Kansas State (52-45) and Iowa State (45-21) after the impressive league-opening victory against Texas (50-7). Quarterback Trevone Boykin has connected on 166-of-250 passes (66.4 percent) for 25 scores against five interceptions. His favorite target, 6-3, 195-pounder Josh Doctson, has 60 catches for 1,067 yards (17.8 ypc) and 12 touchdowns. With Karl Joseph out for the season and the status of corner Terrell Chestnut’s shoulder in question, West Virginia could be forced to try and handle the Frogs sans two secondary starters.
“We are familiar with him,” Holgorsen said. “He has been there for a couple years now. We will face good receivers in the Big 12 every week and we have to do a good job of covering those guys. He’s a bigger, taller more NFL prototypical receiver. Again, after what we faced last week – Baylor has two other guys who are really good players as well – it’s life in the Big 12.”