MORGANTOWN -- J.D. Woods had 13 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown Saturday as No. 9 West Virginia won its Big 12 Conference debut against No. 25 Baylor, 70-63.Woods just happened to be the team's third-leading receiver on a rather ridiculous day witnessed by 60,012 at Mountaineer Field.Stedman Bailey set school records with 303 yards and five touchdowns on 13 receptions. Tavon Austin added a school-record 14 receptions for 215 yards and two scores.Former WVU receiver Chris Henry had the school record entering the game with 207 yards."It was great to get a win, particularly after last week when people said we were the worst offense in the country because we only scored 31 points against Maryland," quarterback Geno Smith said. "I say it every week, but every game is a different story. This game was all about pushing through for the team with the offense."Smith guided the absurd aerial assault. He completed a school-record 14 straight passes in the first half and finished 45-for-51 for 656 yards and eight touchdowns. Each was a school record except the attempts.It's the third time in four games this season Smith's incomplete passes haven't outnumbered his touchdown passes."Statistically, this was my best game ever," Smith said, "but I think I've had better games."Bailey scored on touchdowns of 47, 20, 2, 87 and 39 yards -- the final one with two defenders shadowing him in the end zone. That helped WVU end Baylor's nine-game winning streak, the second-longest winning streak in the nation and bettered only by conference opponent Texas Christian's 11-game run.
WVU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) set a school record with 807 yards and 33 first downs, but needed a one-handed grab and a 13-yard gain by Woods on the offense's final drive and then a 17-yard run by Dustin Garrison on third-and-1 to finish Baylor (3-1, 0-1)."Not every Big 12 game is like this," said WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen, who coached in the Big 12 at Texas Tech (2000-07) and Oklahoma State (2010). "Not every Big 12 offense is like this and not every game is like that. It was a situation where both offenses were playing at a pretty high level. It's going to be fast-paced and a lot of good offense. That's just the way it is."Tied 35-35 at the half, WVU took control in the third quarter by scoring three straight touchdowns and outscoring the Bears 21-7.The Mountaineers opened the half with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Austin and the defense forced a punt. Smith and Austin connected again on 52-yard score. Baylor missed a field goal and the Mountaineers went ahead 56-35 on a 1-yard run by Andrew Buie, his second of the day.The Bears would get within a touchdown three times in the fourth quarter, but WVU replied with touchdowns the first two times and by finishing the game with the ball the third time.
The two teams combined for 1,507 yards of offense, 180 snaps, 18 touchdowns and just four punts. WVU was 11-for-14 on third down and Baylor was 11-for-16.
"To say the defenses didn't play very well would probably be an understatement," Holgorsen said.Baylor quarterback Nick Florence set a school record 581 yards and completed 29 of 47 passes for five touchdowns. Receiver Terrance Williams caught 17 passes for 314 yards and two scores. Tevin Reese added four receptions for 120 yards and a score and Lanear Sampson had four catches for 109 yards and a score.The Bears, who now have 30 points or more in 10 straight games, 45 points or more in eight straight games and 500 yards or more in 10 straight games, had never in program history had three 100-yard receivers. WVU did it 14 games ago."Did you watch where our guys were in relation to where the ball was?" defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. "We've got to make plays. The guys were in position to make plays and didn't."The Mountaineers had never allowed as many points at Mountaineer Field. The 63 allowed were the most since a 130-0 loss to Michigan in 1904.WVU and Baylor combined for 711 yards of offense, 86 snaps and 8.6 yards per play in the first half and settled nothing. The score was 35-35 thanks in large part to an especially embarrassing moment for the WVU defense.
With just a few seconds left before the half, the Mountaineers seemed to have Florence sacked. Florence wiggled out on the left side and floated a ball over the defense to Sampson. He was behind defenders and racing to the end zone, but two WVU defenders ended up taking one another out as they went for Sampson."Unacceptable," DeForest said.It became a laughable 67-yard touchdown with no time left in the half, though the officials reviewed the play to see if Florence was beyond the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball."I challenged the team after that," Holgorsen said. "You can't do that. We're lucky we won because of that. With six or seven seconds left, obviously you've got to get back and keep things in front of you."WVU had worked hard to get the lead after trailing on four separate occasions in the first half. Baylor turned the ball over on a Darwin Cook interception on the game's second play, but WVU missed a field goal. The Bears then scored touchdowns on four of their next five drives with a missed field goal in the middle. They needed 5, 9, 4 and 2 plays on the touchdown drives.The Mountaineers answered with four touchdowns on five drives and a punt in the middle and took the lead on Smith's 2-yard fade pass to Bailey -- his third touchdown of the half.Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com
">firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com.wvu.