Baylor stayed with WVU step for step
MORGANTOWN - Go ahead.
Heap the deserved praise on West Virginia's offense after the Mountaineers' 70-63 basketball-score-like Big 12 football opening victory over Baylor on Saturday.
Just don't ignore the performance of WVU's visitors.
Sure, West Virginia's Geno Smith is receiving the lion's share of the postgame publicity of the shootout, but Bears QB Nick Florence and his cast were spectacular as well. Florence finished 29-of-47 passing with five touchdowns and one interception. Receiver Terrance Williams had an amazing 17 catches for 314 yards and a pair of scores. Tevin Reese added 120 yards receiving.
"We expect to score that way and score more," Florence said afterward. "[West Virginia] had a great scheme though and scored more."
"The game was going back and forth," Williams said. "But the game slowed down for us when we were down 21. It was a crazy game."
It was a crazy game that ultimately went to the Mountaineers, primarily because of Smith. Baylor's players, who watched teammate Robert Griffin III win a Heisman Trophy last season, were complimentary of WVU's candidate. Williams, for instance, was asked if Smith looked like a potential award winner.
"Today he did," said the 6-foot-2, senior receiver. "He played a great game, a dang-near perfect game."
"[Smith] threw the ball on the money," added Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey. "When we made a mistake, he capitalized."
Williams said Florence did the same against WVU.
"Nick played great," said the receiver. "They might have a Heisman [candidate], but [Florence] stuck with us when we were down. I'll take him over anyone in the country."
Florence said Puskar Stadium was a "fun place to play."
"We fed off the crowd a little," he said. "It was a fun atmosphere."
Lackey called the atmosphere of 60,012 "crazy" and "humongous."
In the end, though, the Bears wanted to win what proved to be a special game.
"It's hard to enjoy when you play like that and still don't win," Reese said.
"All I wanted to do was win," Florence said. "If we would have won, it would have felt more special."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.