Baylor dropped its seventh straight game this season, but the freshmen gave Baylor coach Matt Rhule a lot of reasons to be excited about the future of the program.
Freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer led the Bears to 23 fourth-quarter points by hitting eight of 13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns and rushing 10 times for 48 yards.
All four Baylor touchdowns were scored by freshmen. Trestan Ebner caught touchdown passes of 52 and 9 yards from Brewer and ran for a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. John Lovett ran for a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
“Every week, I just try to be as ready as possible,” Brewer said. “You never know when it’s my time to step in, and my number was called tonight. We just kind of all got together and said, ‘Let’s come back.’ It starts with the offensive line, they battled all night. They really put us in the position where we were.”
Mountaineers pop the McLane Stadium top
With its 38-36 win, No. 23 West Virginia won its first game on Baylor’s turf.
In the Mountaineers’ first road game in the series, the Bears romped to a 73-42 win at Floyd Casey Stadium in 2013. The first meeting at McLane Stadium in 2015 was similar as the Bears roared to a 62-38 win.
The Mountaineers held on Saturday night after building a 38-13 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Bears scored 23 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to nearly send the game into overtime.
“I’m proud of the guys that they hung in there,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “Give Coach (Matt) Rhule and Baylor credit for believing. Until the end of the third quarter, they weren’t in a very good spot, and they came out in the fourth quarter and played great and scored a lot of points on us.”
Baylor players, coaches thank diehards
Many of Baylor’s fans departed before the Bears’ fourth-quarter rally got going.
The ones who stuck around screamed and cheered with earnest as the Bears erupted for 23 points in the final quarter, getting to within a two-point conversion of tying the game. Even after Baylor’s comeback fell short, the fans chanted, “BU! BU!” to an appreciative collection of players.
“Oh, I love our fans,” receiver Gavin Holmes said. “It just shows that we couldn’t do any of it without them. I love them, I think they’re the best fans in the Big 12. Just to see that they still believe in us, that’s going to help propel us in the future.”
Baylor coach Matt Rhule offered his gratitude to the crowd who stuck it out.
“I think the people that stayed till the end and saw that effort, I’d just say thank you,” Rhule said. “We’re not here for moral victories. … So for that to be recognized, I think it’s a special thing.”