WVU – Baylor: Five Takeaways
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Five takes from Saturday’s West Virginia victory over Baylor that will forever be known as “Escape from Waco”.
1. It’s hard to play an opponent wearing a black and white striped shirt.
I know, a week ago WVU was the benefit of 16 penalties from Texas Tech, but if you watched the game they weren’t given any breaks by it. The Red Raiders this week rank 120th in the nation in penalties with 61 and 123rd in yards penalized with 577.
WVU was hit with 11 penalties for 134 yards. Eight of those 11 penalties gave Baylor first downs, while WVU benefitted from only six penalties by Baylor for 20 yards and one first down.
Many of WVU’s penalties were legitimate. There was one, against Corey Winfield that is hot on the internet, showing him nailing a Baylor receiver with a right cross that Ali would have envied.
There were a number of interference calls that were clear interference.
But delay of game while on defense?
The officials said the defense was barking signals to confuse Baylor. Tony Gibson, the defensive coordinator, said they were calling defensive signals and have been doing it for four years and never been flagged.
And a chop block that was hardly a block, let alone a chop block.
More important were the holding calls that were not called, all through that fourth quarter comeback when WVU defenders could not get to the corners to stop new quarterback Charlie Brewer.
Dana Holgosen was beside himself and throughout his press conference he let on how mad he was.
“We were trying to cover receivers, get away from blocks and tackle the quarterback … which we finally did. We had a hard time getting off what I thought were multiple holding calls in the fourth quarter. That play we did and we sacked him and preserved the lead,” Holgorsen said at one point.
And at another point, he noted “I don’t think we did a very good job of getting off blocks and holds and that stuff.”
It was blatant and it cast doubt upon how even a playing field WVU had on this evening.
2. You take what you get.
OK, it wasn’t pretty. You beat an 0-7 team by two points, blowing a huge lead and having to survive a last-second two-point conversion.
But a win is a win.
“Winning the game is the only things that matters. At the end of the year, no one is going to worry about how you did it. It’s just how many you win, how many you don’t,” Holgorsen said.
“Happy?” said Gibson in answer to his feelings after the game. “What do you think I am? Remember the last two times we were here?”
WVU had lost two games in Waco, giving up 62 and 73 points in the two games.
3. The defense wasn’t as bad as it looked
But Baylor did have trouble running the ball for three quarters and did have six points at the half and just 13 going into the fourth quarter.
And there were six sacks, the most this year, which doesn’t include the one that saved the game on the two-point conversion try.
“We played the run and got pressure on the quarterback,” Gibson said, noting “they had minus-6 yards rushing going into the fourth quarter.”
4. WVU needs to find depth on the defensive side of the ball quickly
What happened in the fourth quarter, Baylor scoring 23 points and outgaining WVU 230-20, came from a lack of depth, according to Gibson.
“What got us there was we played the same guys, which has kind of been the story. We ran out of gas. They brought the new quarterback in and he gave them a spark,” Gibson said. “We got to go back and find a way to play four quarters. We’re good for two quarters or three.”
5. Finally, WVU needs to develop a killer instinct.
“You have to finish games,” quarterback Will Grier said. “We have to stick to what we were doing. We’re a good offense. We have to continue to do what we are good at and finish. We got complacent.”
“We didn’t have the ball in the fourth quarter. We had two three and outs,” Holgorsen said. “This is something that has been concerning to me and will get addressed. We have a lead, we need to preserve that lead and not have two quick three and outs in the fourth quarter.”
Beating bad teams makes the record look good, but beating good teams makes the team and the coaching staff look good.
There’s a difference.