Kendall Wright

West Virginia defense keeping Baylor within reach

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Baylor took just 58 seconds to drive 80 yards against West Virginia, and the Mountaineers answered with a quick three-play drive going 81 yards for a touchdown in the game’s first three minutes of play. It looked as though we were off to the races for the afternoon in Waco, but Baylor was the only one running the rest fo the way in the first quarter. Baylor took a 17-7 lead but West Virginia’s defense has locked down and forced some Baylor punts to keep this one from getting too out of hand. Baylor leads West Virginia 24-17 at the halftime break.

Seth Russel ran 16 yards for the first score of the game, and West Virginia’s Skyler Howard completed a 70-yard touchdown polay to Shelton Gibson to tie the game. Big plays have been key for West Virginia, but the Mountaineers need to find ways to getting in the end zone. West Virginai was picked off in the end zone once and had another drive stuffed inside the five-yard line of Baylor.

Baylor’s offense has foudn a challenge in West Virginia’s defense. Baylor has just one third-down conversion after missing on the first four third-down situations. West Virginia just has not been able to capitalize on that

Corey Coleman set the single-season school record for touchdowns, with his 14th and 15th touchdown catches in the first half. The record was previously set by Kendall Wright in 2011. Keep in mind that Baylor and Coleman still have six games left this regular season, plus at least one postseason game still to play.

Baylor unveils Robert Griffin III statue, is indeed RGIII

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Still six months shy of his 25th birthday, Robert Griffin III may be the youngest person in America with his own statue. Though, if you’d brought to Baylor what RGIII has – a Heisman Trophy, boatloads of wins, a brand new (and since shattered) offensive record book and, perhaps most importantly, a basis for the support needed to construct a new stadium – in your first quarter-century on Earth, perhaps you’d have your own statue, too.

The 9.5-foot statue stood under a black cloak before its ceremonial unveiling in advance of tonight’s McLane Stadium opening game versus SMU.

“It just wasn’t me,” Griffin told the San Antonio Express-News. “If you look at the guys who came in with me, the guys who were there before we got here. They are all a part of it from Grant Teaff to Coach Briles. Kendall Wright, Lanear Sampson, Terrence Williams, Phil Taylor, Danny Watkins, Jason Smith, I can go on for days.

“I know my guys and I know they know when I say this is for them, they believe me. They know we couldn’t have done it without each other. So I appreciate them. I know a couple of them will be here today and I can’t wait to see them.”

Griffin, on leave from his job as the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, wore a sport coat on top of jeans and tennis shoes because, as he told the assembled green and gold crowd, “I’m here to party.”

No. 10 Baylor and SMU kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Predictions 101 — Week 5

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We went 4-3 last week (both straight up and vs. “the number”), but feel left out.

How come only the fortunate folks who do this sort of thing for NFL games, get to have fun with the wild card of ridiculous replacement refs? Hey, we’d like to go on rants and blame our losses on officiating too.

Oh well.

Is it just us or does the college football season seem like it’s fast-forwarding away? Here we are at Week 5 already.

TOP 5 GAMES OF THE WEEK (Thurs., Sept. 27, thru Sat., Sept. 29)

1) No. 25 Baylor at No. 9 West Virginia
Sat., Sept. 29 — noon ET, FX

It’s all been building up to this for the Mountaineers, who are making their Big 12 debut. And the Bears have been holding up their end rather well, perhaps unexpectedly.

Some doubted Baylor’s ability to soldier on without Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, running back Terrance Ganaway and wideout Kendall Wright, but Nick Florence has stepped up admirably, throwing for at least 312 yards and three scores in all three games this season.

On the flip side, the West Virginia offense led by quarterback Geno Smith has lived up to its lofty preseason hype. With 1,072 passing yards, 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions on Smith’s resume so far, he is the Heisman frontrunner.

Along with wideouts Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, Smith has to be licking his chops. The prospect of a team that’s allowing 492.7 yards per game coming into Morgantown for the first time is quite inviting and could signal a landslide of points.

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No offensive drop in Baylor’s blowout win over SMU

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It’s not that Baylor just lost Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III. The Bears are moving forward without leading rusher Terrance Ganaway and leading receiver Kendall Wright. Add in Baylor’s defensive woes last season and we thought Art Biles was going to have a rebuilding year in Waco.

That might still be the case — it’s just Week 1 — but Baylor showed no signs of slowing down from a 10-win season last year in a 59-24 debut over SMU Sunday night.

Nick Florence, RGIII’s successor, was sharp against the Mustangs, throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns. And what about the departures of Ganaway and Wright? Say hello to Jared Salubi and Tarrence Williams. Depth at the running back and wide receiver position is a luxury for the Bears this year, especially with the arrivals of Darryl Stonum and Lache Seastrunk from Michigan and Oregon, respectively.

Baylor’s defense still gave up some yards to SMU and Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert (34-of-59, 286 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions), but was able to force enough turnovers to get the game out of hand early. The Big 12 isn’t a conference that plays great defense so it’s not necessary to win a league title, but if the Bears can continue to force turnovers like they did tonight, they can be a an upper-tier Big 12 team.

This game was never in doubt in terms of the better team, but Baylor was impressive and could be the most underrated team in the Big 12 this season.