(AP) – Baylor coach Art Briles started talking Monday about the significance of the fourth-ranked Bears’ wild comeback victory over TCU.
Never once did he mention the playoff hopes for the Big 12’s only undefeated team.
”First of all, we got bowl eligible and secondly, it keeps us in the competition for a Big 12 championship,” Briles said. ”From that standpoint, it’s a momentum win. The way that we are looking at this week is to ride the momentum six more days. … So we will take advantage of riding the high for five or six days. You can do that, but you can’t stay that way for an extended period of time. That’s what our plan is going to be (Saturday) going into West Virginia.”
The defending Big 12 champion Bears (6-0, 3-0) are going from winning the highest-scoring game ever between top 10 teams to their first trip to West Virginia since a 70-63 loss there two years ago that’s the highest-scoring game in league history. Then, they’ll get a break with an open date.
Baylor overcame a 21-point deficit in the final 11 minutes last Saturday to beat the Horned Frogs 61-58 when Chris Callahan hit a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
West Virginia (4-2, 2-1) also is coming off a big fourth-quarter comeback at Texas Tech that ended with a field goal as time expired last weekend. The Mountaineers trailed by 14 points in the fourth quarter, and have now matched their 2013 victory total.
The Bears were down 58-37 after Bryce Petty threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown with 11:38 left.
Devin Chafin scored on a 7-yard run before Petty threw the last two of his career-high six TD passes. Petty finished 28 of 55 for a career-best 510 yards and the Bears had 782 total yards, second only to their record 872 against West Virginia last Oct. 5 in a 73-42 win at home.
Petty threw for 347 yards and two scores in last year’s matchup.
”The thing that is a little ironic, I talked to Bryce a little while ago, is that he isn’t happy or satisfied,” Briles said. ”He knows that we as a football team left a lot of plays on the table. We can play a whole lot better on both sides of the ball and special teams. He’s a guy who has a lot of experience, seen a lot of things and won us games.
”The expectation levels for him are up there pretty high, but at the end of the day it is all about winning.”
It seems likely that this game will also be about plenty of scoring. Along with Baylor’s top-ranked offense (622.5 yards per game) and the wide-open nature of these teams’ two all-time meetings, the Mountaineers have also been difficult to stop this year.
West Virginia defeated Texas Tech 37-34 last Saturday on Josh Lambert’s school-record 55-yard field goal as time expired to cap its rally. The Mountaineers are eighth in the country with 552.2 yards per game.
“Long flight home, enjoy this victory and then we will come in tomorrow and put this one to bed and start getting ready for Baylor,” coach Dana Holgorsen said after the game.
West Virginia had 550 yards of offense, setting a school record with its fifth consecutive game of reaching the 500 mark to best the 1993 team that had four straight such efforts.