WACO, Texas – Eleventh-ranked Baylor, one of nine remaining undefeated teams in the country, looks to avenge last season’s lopsided loss to West Virginia when the Big 12 foes meet Thursday in Waco, Texas. The Mountaineers rolled to a 58-14 victory over the Bears in Morgantown, West Virginia., last season but ride a three-game losing streak into Saturday’s contest.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Baylor -17.5
Baylor has dropped its last three meetings to West Virginia and is eager to erase the memory from 2018, when the Mountaineers recorded five sacks and posted 568 yards of total offense. “Obviously, we look back at last year and it was pretty rough,” Bears offensive lineman Sam Tecklenburg told reporters. “They got after us pretty good. I look at this year and I think we’re a much better team. I think we’re going to be much better prepared. I like where we are right now.” Baylor has won nine straight games dating back to last season and boasts an explosive offense led by quarterback Charlie Brewer, who has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 1,866 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 145 yards and six scores. Brewer’s impressive run should continue against West Virginia, which has allowed an average of 44 points in its last three losses to No. 24 Texas, Iowa State and No. 9 Oklahoma.
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (3-4, 1-3 Big 12)
Quarterback Austin Kendall has completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 1,429 yards and 11 touchdowns, but the Mountaineers are ranked 119th in the nation in total offense and 100th in scoring at 22.7 points per game. Coach Neal Brown used last week’s bye to regroup following a 52-14 loss to Oklahoma, which held West Virginia to 51 rushing yards and 242 yards of offense. The team’s injury-plagued defense took another hit when linebacker Josh Chandler (49 tackles) suffered a right knee injury against the Sooners that will sideline him for the next 3-to-4 weeks.
ABOUT BAYLOR (7-0, 4-0)
The Bears headed into last week’s bye on a high note after scoring the final 21 points in the last 9 minutes, 4 seconds of a 45-27 victory over Oklahoma State. The team’s deep receiving group includes Denzel Mims (33 catches, 519 yards, five touchdowns), Tyquan Thornton (26 catches, 507 yards, three TDs) and Josh Fleeks, who had 126 receiving yards and a score against the Cowboys. Sophomore Terrel Bernard started at middle linebacker after Clay Johnston’s season-ending knee injury and recorded a career-high nine tackles to lead the defense, which is allowing 19.1 points per game.
1. Baylor has overcome a fourth-quarter deficit three times in its last four games and a nation-leading six times since the start of the 2018 season.
2. Mountaineers’ running backs rank 107th nationally in average yards after contact (2.2).
3. The Bears lead the Big 12 in sacks (25) and turnover margin (plus-6).
PREDICTION: Baylor 41, West Virginia 17