By Cody Soto
Things did not go as planned for Baylor football on Saturday morning.
The fourth-ranked Bears (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) came back to Waco with a disappointing 41-27 loss to Big 12 opponent West Virginia (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) in Morgantown, W. Va., to snap their perfect season record.
“Credit goes to West Virginia; they played with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion,” head coach Art Briles said. “We had a good opportunity early in the game and didn’t take advantage of it.”
The biggest statistic of the game was the Bears’ record-breaking 215 penalty yards and 18 penalties that crippled the team throughout the game. The Mountaineers were also penalized 14 times for 138 yards in the matchup for a total of 353 total penalty yards between both teams.
The Mountaineers posted 456 offensive yards and held Baylor to 318, the lowest of the season and only the third time in 47 games since 2011.
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett outplayed senior quarterback Bryce Petty all day long. Trickett finished with 322 passing yards and three scores.
“[West Virginia] forced our hand a little bit. We weren’t connecting as we would have liked to,” Briles said. “I think he did well. I didn’t see any confusion. Bryce was, for the most part, pretty clear.”
Baylor was held to only seven points in the second half, and that was something West Virginia was focusing on after falling to former No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Oklahoma earlier in the season.
“We’ve been in this situation before and have been unable to finish,” West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I told them at halftime, we’re not in this thing to finish close again. Holding Baylor to 318 yards and 80 plays is something.”
After only one week of coming back from a 21-point deficit against TCU, Baylor was unable to garner any momentum and failed to score in the final 15 minutes of the game. West Virginia took advantage of some pass interference calls to move the chains and push the lead.
Trickett completed a 12-yard pass to receiver Kevin White in the end zone for his second touchdown reception of the day. White finished with an impressive 132 yards on eight receptions.
Baylor defense did not allow any other points after the 7:35 mark, but the Bears were only 3-for-16 on third down efficiency and 0-for-2 on fourth down conversions.
“They loaded the box and pressed our receivers,” Petty said. “I’ve got to get better at it. The [Baylor] defense put us in a lot of good chances to score touchdowns, and on the road you’ve got to score touchdowns.”
Until the loss on Saturday, Baylor had won 21 straight games when it forced three turnovers or more.
“We expected the aggressiveness and we didn’t do a great job of execution and adjustments, and that’s just reality,” Briles said.
With the loss, Baylor dropped to No. 12 in the AP Poll and No. 13 in the Amway Coaches’ Poll. The win for West Virginia boosted them to No. 22 in the AP Poll and No. 25 in the Coaches’ Poll. With the Mountaineers in the rankings for the first time this season, five teams from the Big 12 are currently in the AP Top 25 with No. 10 TCU, No. 11 Kansas State and No. 17 Oklahoma joining Baylor and West Virginia.
Baylor looks to bounce back after this weekend’s off date and surge back against Kansas during the university’s annual homecoming on Nov. 1. Game time is set for 3 p.m. at McLane Stadium.