Baylor justified its No. 2 ranking after dominating West Virginia on Saturday at McLane Stadium. The Bears amassed 693 yards of offense in their 62-38 rout of the Mountaineers.
After much talk of revenge and redemption for the dream-crushing loss Baylor suffered last year at West Virginia, the Bears walked away satisfied with the result.
Looking back at what happened last year, the Bears were excited to come out firing on all cylinders and get the bitter taste out of their mouths, sais senior wide receiver Jay Lee.
Early in the game, both teams traded scores within the first three minutes of the game. It appeared as though West Virginia would spoil the party at McLane Stadium.
After going up 14-7, the Baylor offense seemed to hit a dry spell and had several drives stall. The Bears went more than 11 minutes without a touchdown in both the first and second quarters.
Baylor attempted to solve the lack of offensive output by going to one player – Corey Coleman. The junior wide receiver, who has recently gained Heisman attention, broke through each time the Bears needed a score.
Coleman provided Baylor with three of its first four touchdowns, with all of them distancing Baylor whenever West Virginia tried to make it close. Coleman’s scores surpassed Baylor’s all-time record for most touchdown receptions in a single season.
“You watch [Coleman], the way he runs his routes, he’s so dynamic, so explosive,” said junior quarterback Seth Russell. “If you double him, then you’re going one-on-one with one of the fastest guys in the nation and with one of the most consistent guys in the nation. It’s basically pick your poison; that’s the way I look at it.”
Coleman’s exploits forced the Mountaineers to switch to double teams and bracket coverage on the All-American receiver.
The added attention to Coleman quieted him for the remainder of the game, but left open lanes in the run game and allowed other pass-catchers to become involved. Lee was the biggest beneficiary of the Coleman-effect. Lee hauled in two catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns after the defensive switch.
Another player who had been bottled up in the first half was junior running back Shock Linwood. Linwood ran for 42 yards on seven carries and one touchdown after posting a sub-par 3.7 yards per carry before the intermission.
“You never like to think it’s going to be hard to run the football, but [West Virginia] is a run-stop team,” said head coach Art Briles. “They’re a team that takes a lot of pride in stopping the run. We knew it would be a little bit of a grind.”
While Coleman had a much better first half, statistically, his effectiveness was arguably superior after the break.
His impact on the field is undeniable and after Saturday his performance warranted high praise from West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.
“[Coleman is] the best player in college football. You can put me on record with that,” Holgorsen said.
Baylor is markedly more explosive when Coleman is on the field. Whether he is catching the football or simply being used as a decoy, the Bears’ offense has been able to churn up yards with ease.
Don’t expect the numbers to drop as No. 2 Baylor will play Iowa State for homecoming at 11 a.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium.