Baylor looked like it raided Fort Knox for its golden chrome helmets that were unveiled for Saturday night’s Big 12 opener.
They were blinding to say the least, but not nearly as blinding as the guys wearing them.
Racing up and down the field at a breakneck pace, the No. 17 Bears set a school record by amassing 864 yards total offense in a 73-42 romp over West Virginia before a packed house of 45,467 at Floyd Casey Stadium.
This was anything but a replay of the Mountaineers’ 70-63 shootout over the Bears last year in Morgantown. The Bears (4-0) did their part by demolishing another scoreboard, but West Virginia didn’t have the weapons or the speed to stay in the game against the most dynamic offense in college football.
Despite another lopsided win, the Bears believe they still have much more to prove as they continue to delve into Big 12 play.
“We know we’re the best,” Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said. “It doesn’t matter what someone on ESPN says or whoever. It’s funny how people say we have something to prove when we’ve had four weeks. I guess 70 isn’t enough. We have to keep hungry and stay working.”
The Bears treated the Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2) just like they did nonconference opponents Wofford, Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe. They blew out to a 28-7 first-quarter lead, marking the fourth straight game that they’ve scored at least four first-quarter touchdowns.
Baylor opened up a 66-21 third-quarter lead before the Mountaineers scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Bears’ reserve players. Baylor’s 864 yards topped the 781 yards they gained against both Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe.
The Bears came dressed to kill with their shiny new helmets, black uniforms with gold letters, and black and gold shoes. Then they played as well as they dressed as they racked up 369 first-quarter yards, the most by a college football team in any quarter in the last decade.
“We had a lot of energy without question and the fans responded,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “We faced a quality opponent with good people, but we played extremely active with a lot of intensity and purpose. In the second half, it was a little bit of a downer. We’ll judge the game by the first half because we did what we had to win the football game.”
Coming into the game leading the nation in passing efficiency, Petty produced another superb game by hitting 17 of 25 throws for 347 yards and two touchdowns. As in the first three games, Petty was pulled by midway through the third quarter with the Bears comfortably ahead, 63-21.
Lache Seastrunk rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries, and excited the crowd by racing for an 80-yard score in the first quarter. Antwan Goodley continued his breakout season by making seven catches for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Baylor’s pass rush
While Baylor’s offense provided the big plays, the Baylor defense kept West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett on the run all night. With pass rushers constantly in his face, Trickett hit just nine of 28 passes for 161 yards while getting sacked twice and throwing an interception.
A week after leading the Mountaineers to a 30-21 win over then-No. 11 Oklahoma State, Trickett wasn’t nearly as effective in his second start before giving way to Paul Millard in the fourth quarter. The Baylor defense would have liked to finish stronger since West Virginia scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns.
“We’re not satisfied,” Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon said. “We get points put on us, it’s going to hurt us. Coach did a great job of putting us in position to make plays, and we did. But our second team gave up big-time plays, and we have to take ownership.”
The Bears put the game away at halftime, amassing 617 yards total offense to open up a 56-14 lead.
Baylor started the game in usual fashion by scoring a quick touchdown as Petty hit Goodley down the right sideline for 61 yards with just 40 seconds elapsed in the game.
After the Bears stopped the Mountaineers on their first drive, West Virginia got a huge break when Levi Norwood muffed a punt inside the 10. The ball rolled into the end zone and Karl Joseph fell on it as the Mountaineers tied the game at 7-7.
The Bears answered with a relatively time-consuming drive, moving 75 yards on 12 plays while taking 3:33 off the clock. Seeing his first action since re-injuring his ankle Sept. 7 against Buffalo, Glasco Martin finished off the last 15 yards of the drive on four carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run to give Baylor a 14-7 lead.
Trying to keep pace with Baylor’s offense, West Virginia went for it on fourth-and-2 at its own 49. But Baylor linebacker Eddie Lackey nailed Charles Sims for a 2-yard loss to put Baylor’s offense in great field position.
Reese pulls Bears away
Tevin Reese took advantage of it by making a leaping, juggling catch of Petty’s pass for a 47-yard touchdown to push Baylor’s lead to 21-7 with 6:25 left in the first quarter.
On West Virginia’s next drive, Trickett hit Kevin White with a 37-yard pass to Baylor’s 41, but the Mountaineers could get no farther and were forced to punt.
Seastrunk made the Mountaineers pay by faking out a couple of defenders with some nifty footwork and then breaking down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run to give the Bears a 28-7 lead with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
On their next possession, the Bears shifted to ball control as they moved 80 yards on 14 plays for a touchdown. Petty got Baylor out of a third-and-10 hole at the 20 when he threw a perfectly placed pass to Goodley for 30 yards.
Facing fourth-and-1 at West Virginia’s 41, Martin kept the drive alive with a 10-yard blast up the middle. After Seastrunk scampered around the left side for 14 yards to the 3, Martin finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to push Baylor’s lead to 35-7 with 14:40 left in the second quarter.
The Bears committed their second turnover of the first half when Petty threw his first interception of the season with Daryl Worley returning it 37 yards to West Virginia’s 47. But the Mountaineers couldn’t take advantage of the turnover and were forced to punt again.
After Petty hit Corey Coleman for 34 yards to West Virginia’s 31, Martin exploded for 21 yards up the middle and scored on a 2-yard run to give the Bears a 42-7 lead with 7:30 left in the second quarter.
Mountaineers break the ice
The Mountaineers finally scored their first offensive touchdown when Trickett found White over the middle for 39 yards. But the Bears still had enough time to score two more touchdowns before halftime.
Petty hooked up with Goodley down the right sideline for 42 yards, and the Bears got 15 more yards when West Virginia’s Darwin Cook was called for a personal foul on the tackle.
Seastrunk completed the drive by scooting around the left side and stretching inside the pylon for a 19-yard touchdown. Shock Linwood scored Baylor’s eighth touchdown of the first half when he broke away for a 13-yard run with 1:04 remaining.
In the third quarter, Sims ran for a 39-yard touchdown for the Mountaineers. But Baylor answered with a 1-yard scoring run by Devin Chafin to push Baylor’s lead to 63-21.
With Baylor’s second-team defense on the field, Millard threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Ronald Carswell and White. Baylor backup quarterback Seth Russell scored the final touchdown on a 7-yard run with 5:41 remaining.