Preview: Baylor at West Virginia

When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 3, 2016
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia


West Virginia saw its hopes of winning the Big 12 Conference title evaporate with a home loss to Oklahoma on Nov. 19. However, the 13th-ranked Mountaineers still have plenty of incentive going into their conference finale on Saturday against visiting Baylor.

A victory would give West Virginia 10 wins for just the ninth time in school history. And if the Mountaineers - picked to finish seventh in the Big 12's preseason media poll - then can go on and pick up a victory in a bowl game, Dana Holgorsen's squad would match the school record with an 11-win season. And if that isn't enough to get the Mountaineers fired up to play on Senior Day, there's the matter of a 62-38 trouncing by the Bears last season in Waco. "We all know what this one means," defensive coordinator Tony Gibson told The Dominion Post. "We know what Baylor brings. We've had Dec. 3, 2016 marked down for a long time."

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1. LINE: West Virginia -17.5

ABOUT BAYLOR (6-5, 3-5 Big 12): The Bears have dropped five in a row since a 6-0 start that included an impressive 35-24 victory over Oklahoma State and are coming off an embarrassing 54-35 loss to a Texas Tech team that finished the season 5-7. Freshman quarterback Zach Smith, who has taken over for injured starter Seth Russell (ankle surgery), passed for 377 yards and three touchdowns against the Red Raiders and will be making his third collegiate start. Wide receiver KD Cannon has been a standout on an otherwise lackluster offense this season, catching 68 passes for 905 yards and 10 touchdowns while Terence Williams has become the Bears' go-to running back with 149 carries for 855 yards and 10 TDs.

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (9-2, 6-2): Senior quarterback Skyler Howard has been under the radar nationally in a quarterback-rich Big 12 but is having one of the top seasons statistically in school history, completing 230-of-352 passes for 3,083 yards and 24 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. Three Mountaineers have 40 or more receptions, including senior Daikiel Shorts (55 catches, 815 yards, four TDs), while Holgorsen - with injuries to his top three running backs - decided to take the redshirt off Martell Pettaway last week at Iowa State, and the true freshman responded by rushing 30 times for 180 yards and a score. The defense is led by senior cornerback Rasul Douglas, who is tied for first in the nation with eight interceptions to go along with 60 tackles.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The series is tied at 2-2, but West Virginia has won both of the previous meetings in Morgantown, posting a 70-63 victory in 2012 and a 41-27 triumph two years later.

2. Baylor ranks fourth nationally in total offense (530.9 yards) while West Virginia is 10th (514.6).

3. The Bears are 7-1 in the month of December since 2011.

PREDICTION: West Virginia 45, Baylor 24

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Baylor 6-5 L5 36.2 31.0 4-2 2-3 5-3 0-0 3-5
West Virginia 9-2 W1 33.4 23.6 5-1 4-1 2-0 0-0 6-2

Last Meeting

Baylor West Virginia
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/17/15 WVU 38 BAY 62 693 304 389 471 182 289

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
BAY S. Russell 60.6 380 5 0
WVU S. Howard 48.6 289 4 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
BAY S. Russell 14 160 11.4 1
WVU W. Smallwood 12 89 7.4 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
BAY C. Coleman 10 199 19.9 3
WVU S. Gibson 3 92 30.7 1
TDs Player TD
BAY C. Coleman 3
WVU S. Gibson 2
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
BAY S. Russell 54.7 2126 20 8
WVU S. Howard 62.5 3083 24 10
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
BAY T. Williams 149 855 5.7 10
WVU J. Crawford 129 959 7.4 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
BAY K. Cannon 68 905 13.3 10
WVU S. Gibson 40 927 23.2 8
TDs Player TD
BAY K. Cannon 10
WVU S. Gibson 8

Quickchart Matchup

Baylor Off vs  West Virginia Def
530.9 yards
430.4 yards
5.2 yards/rush
4.3 yards/rush
7.4 yards/attempt
6.8 yards/attempt
West Virginia Off vs  Baylor Def
514.6 yards
435.5 yards
5.4 yards/rush
4.3 yards/rush
8.7 yards/attempt
7.7 yards/attempt

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Baylor Overall West Virginia
6-5-0 W/L 9-2-0
2-9-0 ATS 5-6-0
4-7-0 O/U 5-6-0
36.2 Pts For 33.4
31.0 Pts Against 23.6
Baylor A/H West Virginia
2-3 W/L 5-1
0-5-0 ATS 2-4-0
2-3-0 O/U 3-3-0
35.2 Pts For 31.8
37.2 Pts Against 22.5