Morgantown, West Virginia – Tomorrow night, West Virginia will play their first game out of the bye week against the Baylor Bears in Morgantown at 7:30 PM. Both West Virginia and Baylor are coming off of bye weeks, so we will see what they have in store for us and if we have a chance to beat them.
What does ESPN think?
Despite Baylor having two losses (to BYU and Oklahoma State respectively), and the game being at home, West Virginia only has a 39.9% chance of winning this game. Despite their record, Baylor has two quality losses, one at THEN #21 BYU and at home to #9 Oklahoma State (as previously mentioned). They did seem to struggle with Iowa State in Ames (who is almost as bad as West Virginia is this season), so I could see West Virginia making it close, but it is still a tough test, home or away.
Does West Virginia have any advantages in this matchup?
At Quarterback, yes, but everywhere else, it is pretty even. Baylor gives up 37.4 points per game while West Virginia gives up 38.2 points per game. Baylor 248.4 yards passing and 187.8 yards rushing while WVU has 268.6 yards passing and 186.2 yards rushing. If our defense can play better than it has all season, and NOT like it did during the Kansas game, then WVU could pull away with the win. If not, this game is going to end up turning into a shootout. Both teams have good offenses, and mediocre defenses to say the least, and the key to the game will be stopping the pass and limiting the run.
What will West Virginia rely on without Donaldson?
Tony Mathis will have to play a lights-out game if West Virginia is going to try to match the production we are losing. WVU relies on a mixed offense this season with equal run and pass alike. Maybe, we will see Neal Brown and Graham Harrell call more passing plays to combat the lost production, and if our receivers are able to limit their drops, then maybe we can have a good offensive showing against Baylor.
What should we expect?
An even-matched game that SHOULD be pretty close. Expect both teams to score in the low to mid 30’s. Baylor is favored by 3.5, and that seems just about right. It could be a close, one-possession game if the West Virginia defense can make crucial stops in their own territory and limit Baylor to field goals.