SB Nation Dallas
Stay connected for news and updates Follow @sbndallas
Like us to subscribe
Despite scoring 63 points, the Baylor Bears lost the offensive shootout of the season on Saturday to West Virginia by allowing the Mountaineers to put 70 points on the board.
The West Virginia QB put up a jaw-dropping aerial display on Saturday.
The two teams combined for nearly 1,500 yards of total offense, as both quarterbacks put up gaudy numbers in picking apart the opposing defenses. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith threw for 656 yards, overshadowing Baylor's Nick Florence, who racked up 581 yards through the air.
The teams were deadlocked, 35-35, at halftime. They went back-and-forth for the first two quarters, as neither team led by more than a touchdown at any point. That changed in the third quarter, when the Mountaineers scored 21 unanswered points to begin the second half. Of course, that didn't last for long, as the Bears came storming back to get to within a score shortly after the start of the fourth quarter.
West Virginia went back up by two scores on two different occasions in the final quarter, but Baylor answered each time. The Mountaineers were ultimately able to run out the clock on their last possession, as the Bears elected to kick deep after their final touchdown. Their defense, of course, was unable to keep West Virginia from getting a couple of first downs to close things out.
Box Score Hero: Smith had a performance for the ages, throwing for more touchdowns (eight) than incomplete passes (six). His final line? 45-of-51 for 656 yards and eight touchdowns. Just for fun, he also added 31 yards on the ground. Five of Smith's touchdown passes were caught by Stedman Bailey, who reeled in 13 balls for 303 yards.
Baylor quarterback Nick Florence was terrific as well, completing 29 of 47 passes for 581 yards and five touchdowns.
Rankings Ramifications: Baylor should fall out of the rankings, while West Virginia will at least pass Stanford, who lost to Washington on Thursday.
But Did They Cover? The Mountaineers were 11 and a half-point favorites, but only won by seven. Baylor bettors get the money there, while anyone who took the over on total points is a winner.
Next Week's Schedule: West Virginia: Oct. 6 at Texas; Baylor: Oct. 13 vs. TCU.
The West Virginia Mountaineers lead the Baylor Bears, 56-42, after three quarters of play in Morgantown, W. Va. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith threw two more touchdown passes in the quarter, increasing his total to six on the day.
Baylor allowed West Virginia to take control of the game, at least temporarily, by going three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, then missing a field goal on their second drive. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers kept chugging along on offense, as Smith threw scoring passes of 45 and 52 yards to Tavon Austin to increase their lead to two touchdowns. On West Virginia's third possession of the half, Andrew Buie found the endzone for the second time in the game, putting the Mountaineers up by 21.
The Bears answered back on their next possession, as Nick Florence hooked up with Terrance Williams for a 37-yard touchdown with just over three minutes left in the quarter. Baylor finally got a stop on defense after that, forcing West Virginia to punt with a little over two minutes remaining. The Bears are threatening to make it a one-score game as the fourth quarter begins.
Florence continues to have a terrific day, throwing for 416 yards and three scores. However, he has been overshadowed by Smith, who has completed 36 of 40 passes for 486 yards through three quarters.
The high-powered offenses have scored back and forth, while defensive stops have been at a premium. Baylor got on the board first, as Jarred Salubi found his way into the end zone from a yard out to cap off a 5-play, 67-yard drive. West Virginia would answer back with a one-yard touchdown run of their own, courtesy of Andrew Buie, less than four minutes later. Glasco Martin ran for touchdowns on Baylor's next two scoring drives, while Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes – including a 47-yard bullet to Stedman Bailey – to answer for West Virginia.
Baylor would finally air it out for a touchdown after that, as Nick Florence found Tevin Reese for a 65-yard strike to give Baylor a 28-21 lead. Of course, not to be outdone, Smith and the Mountaineers scored less than a minute and a half later, when the Heisman favorite hit Bailey in the end zone again to knot the score at 28 apiece.
West Virginia got a key stop on Baylor's next possession, as its defense stymied the Bears at midfield, forcing them to punt. That opened the door for Smith and the Mountaineers to take a lead into the locker room, as Smith hooked up with Bailey for a third second-quarter score. It was Smith's 11th straight completion. Baylor, of course, would not just go into the half quietly, as Florence hit Lanear Sampson for a 67-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
The quarterbacks put on a show in the first half, with Smith a staggering 26-of-28 for 288 yards and four touchdowns in the half, while Florence completed 11-of-16 passes for 321 yards and two scores. He also threw an interception.
Bears quarterback Nick Florence was undeterred after throwing an interception on the second play of the game. He later hit Terrence Williams across the middle, who ran it down to the Mountaineers 14 yard line for a gain of 49 yards. That set up a Jared Salubi one yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead.
After holding Heisman candidate Geno Smith in check during the first drive, the Bears let the Mountaineers quarterback get loose on West Virginia's second drive. Smith led the Mountaineers on a nine play, 75 yard drive that was capped off by a Andrew Buie touchdown run.
The Bears came right back, marching down the field behind the arm of Lawrence and legs of Salubi and back up running back Glasco Martin, who scored on a seven yard run up the middle, putting the Bears up 14-0.
Smith then led the Mountaineers back down the field in less than two minutes to tie the score up on a seven yard pass to J.D. Woods.
Cornerback Demetri Goodson was seen walking to the locker room with his left arm wrapped up. There is no word yet on whether he will return to the game.
Game information for the Baylor Bears' matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers this Saturday.
Baylor Bears fans know plenty about seeing a Heisman candidate on the field, being just one year removed from watching Robert Griffin III's mastery. This Saturday, they'll get their chance to see perhaps this season's Heisman favorite in West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith leads the Scripps Heisman Poll this week after throwing for 3 touchdowns and 338 yards in the Mountaineers' victory over Maryland last week. On the season, Smith has thrown for 1,072 yards, 12 touchdowns and no picks for the 3-0 Mountaineers.
Smith and No. 9 West Virginia host No. 25 Baylor this week and figure to give the Bears' defense quite a test. Baylor's pass defense hasn't been good, giving up 315 yards per game, which is 113th in the nation. Smith has led West Virginia to the No. 3 passing offense in the nation at 370 yards per game
Saturday's game kicks off at 11 a.m. CT and will be televised by FX.
West Virgina Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen worked with Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles back in the day at Texas Tech, when they were both coordinators. Briles has had excellent success at crafting solid quarterbacks since he moved away from there and became a head coach at Houston and now Baylor. Between Case Keenum, Kevin Kolb, Robert Griffin III and now the impressive Nick Florence, his record is sparkling.
In a press conference earlier in the week, Holgorsen spoke of his old colleague and his great prowess with college quarterbacks:
"He has been there in that quarterback room for five years now, and Art does a great job of coaching quarterbacks," Holgorsen said. "He recruited Case Keenum when I took over, and he had Kevin Kolb who is playing in the NFL. Obviously, he had RG3 for a couple of years. He does a great job of developing quarterbacks. You can talk about that kid [Florence] because he is a program player. He’s not as talented but he is a winner and runs the ball well."
Baylor will face West Virginia on Saturday as it looks to start the season an impressive 4-0 with Florence at the helm.
After racing out to a 3-0 record in non-conference play and sneaking into the Top 25, the 2012 season gets real for Baylor on Saturday, when they begin Big 12 play with a road date in Morgantown.
No. 9 West Virginia, which has some of most raucous fans in the nation, will be hosting their first game as a member of the conference.
The odds makers are all behind the Mountaineers and their high-powered offense, led by the dynamic pass-and-catch duo of Geno Smith and Tavon Austin. They're currently favored by -11.5 points in a game with an incredibly high over/under of 79.5.
Even without RG3, Art Briles' team has had no problems putting up points in 2012, but their defense remains a huge question, especially after they gave up 42 points to Louisiana-Monroe last week.
However, West Virginia's defense isn't much more proven, as they've taken on Marshall, James Madison and Maryland.
Nick Florence threw 2 INT's against the WarHawks; he'll need to be nearly perfect to put up enough points for Baylor to pull off the upset on Saturday.
The Baylor Bears face their toughest challenge yet in 2012, as they head to West Virginia to take on Geno Smith and the Mountaineers in a Big 12 battle.