EditorsNote: Tweaked 5th and 6th grafs
Baylor’s Charlie Brewer passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns, and the 12th-ranked Bears outlasted West Virginia 17-14 on Thursday in Big 12 Conference play at Waco, Texas.
John Mayers booted a tiebreaking, 36-yard field goal with 10:19 to play in the fourth quarter to produce the deciding points.
The Bears (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) have won their first eight games for the first time since 2015, when they finished 10-3 and ranked No. 13. Baylor is one of just eight unbeaten teams in FBS play headed to this weekend’s schedule.
Baylor found a way to trudge to the win by fending off the Mountaineers’ big plays. The Bears outgained West Virginia 453-219 but lost three fumbles.
The game was tied at 7-7 midway through the third quarter when things began to heat up on the cool night. Baylor reassumed the lead with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Brewer to Denzel Mims, but the Mountaineers responded with Winston Wright’s 95-yard kickoff return to retie the contest.
West Virginia’s Casey Legg, a soccer player attempting his first field goal in competitive play at any level, had his 48-yard, game-tying effort blocked by the Bears’ Bravvion Roy with a little over three minutes remaining. Legg was filling in for injured regular Evan Staley.
Mountaineers quarterback Austin Kendall passed for 205 yards and a score but also threw an interception and fumbled once on a bad snap.
The Bears scored in the waning seconds of the first quarter when Brewer hit R.J. Sneed on a 13-yard touchdown pass at the end of an eight-play, 86-yard drive.
Baylor moved to the shadow of the Mountaineers’ goal line late in the second quarter but was denied a touchdown on consecutive quarterback sneaks by Brewer from the West Virginia 1-yard line, the last one on fourth down.
The game was an anomaly in the normally wide-open offensive track meets of Big 12 play. Baylor had just 115 total yards of offense in the first half but the Mountaineers were even more inept, managing only 39 yards on 21 snaps over the first two quarters.
West Virginia knotted the game at 7-7 at the 6:42 mark of the third quarter on an 83-yard catch-and-run from Kendall to George Campbell.
Baylor has won its first eight games for just the third time ever. The Bears’ all-time best start was in 2013 when they won their first nine contests before losing to Oklahoma State. They ended that year 11-2 after capturing their first-ever Big 12 title.
—Field Level Media