By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Can West Virginia (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) do against Baylor (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) on Saturday in Waco, Tex., what the underdog Mountaineers did to heavily favored Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) last Saturday in Morgantown?
That’s the biggest question in the wake of that 30-21 upset victory against the heavily favored Cowboys. They dropped all the way down from No. 11 to 21st in The Associated Press poll this week as a result of what seemed a tremendous triumph for WVU.
But the Mountaineers still aren’t in the Top 25 of either major poll. Are the writers and coaches still wondering, like many fans, just how strong WVU really is?
Baylor bowed to West Virginia in a memorable 70-63 shootout in the first ever football meeting between the Big 12 rivals here a year ago. So this is the first visit to Baylor for WVU.
The Bears are favored by 27 1/2 points.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 8 p.m. The action will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
It seems surprising that Baylor has played just three games and the season is more than a month old. But the Bears have scored 209 points already, and that’s the most by any team through the first three games of a season in the last 10 years.
Baylor’s three wins to date came against Wofford 69-3, Buffalo 70-13, and University of Louisiana at Monroe 70-7.
Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s third-year head coach, thinks “this should be a fun game.” He said, “It’s impressive what (the Bears) are doing. No. 1 scoring offense in the country, No. 1 in everything, it looks like.
“Coming off a bye week, they’re going to be fresh and energetic. They’re going to be confident. We’ll be in a pretty bad place to play on Saturday night.”
He noted that the Bears not only are powerful offensively, but have shown a lot of improvement defensively.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing another unbeaten team, and that’s what we like to do,” Holgorsen said.
Here’s a comparison of statistics:
--WVU is averaging 20.4 points per game and giving up 19.6; BU 66.7 ppg and allowing only 7.7
--WVU has 100 first downs, and its four opponents 78; BU 93 to its three opponents’ 48
--WVU is gaining 137.0 rushing yards per game and giving up 307.0; BU 307.0 to opponents’ 110.3 ypg
--WVU is averaging 229.2 passing ypg to opponents’ 188.4; BU 444.3 ypg to its opponents’ 186.7
--WVU is averaging 392.6 ypg in total offense while limiting opponents to 345.4; BU is averaging 751.3 ypg in total offense and holding opponents to 297.0 ypg.
It’s interesting to note that junior Kevin White’s 17-yard scoring reception from Florida State transfer Clint Trickett against Oklahoma State was White’s first touchdown as a WVU receiver. It also happened to be Trickett’s first touchdown pass in a WVU uniform.