For the sixth straight season, the Baylor Bears are a bowl-eligible football program. With a 62-38 victory over West Virginia, the Bears are 6-0 in 2015. For Baylor, the win was all about capturing respect.
“We didn’t feel like we had a good name in West Virginia. Now maybe they’ll say Baylor has a decent team,” said head coach Art Briles.
Baylor has certainly garnered the respect of the nation, as they are ranked in the number two slot. However, the Bears did not have a winning record against the Mountaineers since they joined the Big 12, including falling to WVU in Morgantown last season.
On the offensive side of the ball, junior receiver Corey Coleman has continued his tremendous season. Coleman broke the single season school record for touchdowns, which was previously held by Kendall Wright. Coleman caught 10 balls for 199 yards and three scores. Coleman now has 16 touchdown catches on the year and is seemingly unstoppable.
“He’s so dynamic, he’s so explosive that you’re going to have to double team him. That’s maybe the only way you can stop him,” said junior quarterback Seth Russell.
While Russell and Coleman have made highlights all season through the air, the duel-threat quarterback also showcased his footwork. Russell led the team with 160 yards on the ground while also throwing for 380. Russell is only the second Baylor quarterback in school history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards.
The other guy has a statue outside of McLane Stadium.
“Our offensive line was doing an amazing job moving people out of the way, making holes. As long as we continue to execute, [quarterback runs] are something we can really look forward to,” said Russell.
Defensively for the Bears, Baylor forced yet another turnover. Ryan Reid’s interception in the first half marked the 22nd consecutive game in which Baylor has forced a turnover, the longest streak in the nation.
Baylor’s defense once again came out firing in the second half. After allowing 291 yards in the first half, the Bears returned for the second half and played very well. The Mountaineers only managed 180 total yards in the second half, with Baylor forcing two punts and three turnovers on downs.
The Bears’ victory did not come without a cost however. In the third quarter, junior defensive tackle Andrew Billings went down with an ankle injury. While Billings would later return for one play, he would leave the game eventually and did not play.
“He came back in for that one play and just looked like he couldn’t go so the rest of the D-linemen knew we had to step it up,” said senior defensive tackle Beau Blackshear.
According to head coach Art Briles, Billings’ injury is suspected to be just a sprain and should be good to go next week. Billings had been playing at an extremely high level before his injury, posting 6 tackles including three for loss as well as a sack.
Billings’ health is a huge concern for the Bears, as they begin one of the hardest 6 game stretches in the nation next weekend.
After Iowa State next weekend, Baylor will play three teams currently ranked in the top 25 in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU. For the Bears to dominate upfront, Billings will have to be at his full strength for the Baylor defensive line.