The Big Lead
The Big Lead
The Big Lead

On September 29, 2012, West Virginia hosted Baylor in its first ever Big 12 game. It took all of four hours for head coach Dana Holgorsen, quarterback Geno Smith and the Mountaineers to rewrite the Big 12 record book. With Baylor headed to Morgantown for the de facto two year anniversary of the game, we thought we’d take a look back at West Virginia 70, Baylor 63 and relieve some of the glory of that September day.

– Baylor and West Virginia were tied at 14-14 through one quarter, and knotted at 35-35 at the half after Bears quarterback Nick Florence found Lanear Sampson for a broken play 67-yard touchdown pass as time expired. WVU opened the third quarter with three straight touchdowns, but Baylor pulled back within 56-49 over the late third and early fourth quarters. The clubs traded touchdowns, with West Virginia going up 14 until Baylor pulled back within seven until the score reached 70-63. After Baylor’s final score at 3:08, West Virginia managed to run out the clock – somehow without scoring – to earn the win.

– In all, West Virginia ran 88 plays for 807 yards, while Baylor countered with 92 yards for 700 yards. The ball was snapped a mind-boggling 180 times for 1,507 yards, or 8.37 yards per play.

– The teams combined for 67 first downs (Baylor 34, West Virginia 33) and went a combined 24-of-32 on third and fourth downs.

– In a 21-21 second quarter, the final 10 minutes saw a span of six touchdown drives in seven total possessions.

– Perhaps most amazingly, both teams stuck to the run throughout despite the pyrotechnics each team created through the air. Baylor threw 47 passes for 12.4 yards a pop, and ran 45 times for 2.6 yards a carry, while West Virginia threw 61 passes for 12.9 yards per attempt, and rushed 37 times for 4.1 yards a carry.

– West Virginia traveled 301 yards on its 10 scoring plays alone, while Baylor moved a mere 194 yards on its nine touchdown plays.

– Feast your eyes upon this drive chart. Defensive coaches may want to avert their gaze to avoid meeting the same fate of the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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– ¬†Individually, let’s start with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. He hit 26-of-28 passes, including 12 straight, for 288 yards and four touchdowns…. in the first half. This, of course, means he went a modest 19-of-23 for 368 yards and four more touchdowns in the second half, for a grand total of 45-of-51 passing for 656 yards with eight touchdowns while also serving as the Mountaineers’ second-leading rusher with 31 carries on five yards. With a completion percentage above 88 and nearly 13 yards per attempt, Smith posted a quarterback rating of 248.05.

– Florence competed 29-of-47 passes for 581 yards with five touchdowns and one costly interception, plus another touchdown on the ground.

– Baylor’s Lanear Sampson caught four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, and he was the game’s¬†sixth leading receiver. West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey set a Big 12 record with 303 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 13 catches, and Baylor’s Terrance Williams broke his record with 314 receiving yards and two scores on 17 grabs. They were supplemented by Tavon Austin (14 for 215 with two scores) and J.D. Woods (13 for 114 and a score), and Baylor’s Tevin Reese (four for 120 and a touchdown).

– While all this was going on, Andrew Buie pounded out 25 rushes for 82 yards (no run longer than 16 yards) and two touchdowns, and Jared Salbui countered with 20 carries for 75 yards (no run longer than 12) and a touchdown. Florence completed 11 passes of more than 12 yards, and Smith hit 10 passes of longer than 16 yards. These were a couple of guys that brought a record player to a Skrillex concert.

– Let’s not leave the special teams out of this. Austin returned a kickoff 41 yards to set up a Mountaineer score, while Levi Norwood took a punt back 45 yards to set up a Baylor touchdown.

– The kickers did their parts to keep things interesting. While hitting all 19 of their extra point attempts, Andrew Betancourt and Aaron Jones missed all three of their combined field goal tries. Betancourt missed from 50 yards for WVU, while Jones missed from 33 and 46 yards.

– Finally, let’s hand out some helmet stickers for the defensive guys. Isaiah Bruce led West Virginia with 13 tackles, while Terence Garvin racked up six tackles and two sacks. For Baylor, Bryce Hager led all players with 15 tackles, and fellow linebacker Eddie Lackey complied nine tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss.

– The win moved West Virginia to 4-0 on the year. The Mountaineers eventually rose to 5-0 and No. 5 nationally before losing five straight. They finished 7-6 with a loss to Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl. The loss dropped Baylor to 3-1 and served as the first setback in what turned into a four-game losing streak. The Bears found themselves at 4-5 on Nov. 10, but won their last four – including a win over BCS No. 1 Kansas State and a blowout of UCLA in the Holiday Bowl – to finish 8-5.