It was a difficult week for the WVU Mountaineers in their first Big 12 game of the 2020 season. Despite outgaining the Oklahoma State Cowboys in total yards, WVU fell 27-13 on Saturday.
The loss drops the Mountaineers to 1-1, with eight conference games remaining on the schedule.
Oklahoma State improves to 2-0. However, it fell two spots in the rankings again, down to No. 17.
A slow start doomed WVU and put coach Neal Brown’s side in a hole early.
WVU’s first five offensive possessions gained some yards, but ended with three punts and two fumbles. The Cowboys were able to build a 17-0 first-half lead that wound up being too much to recover from.
Penalties and turnovers played a large role in the outcome of this one. WVU lost in both categories.
It committed 12 penalties for a total of 106 yards. Oklahoma State had five fewer fouls for just 65 yards.
The Mountaineers’ two fumbles in the first half were a problem, as well. The turnovers led to 10 points, including a 56-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
The result is tough to swallow for WVU, which appeared to control a lot of the game. Not only did it gain more yards, WVU converted more first downs and won the time of possession.
The team must get over the defeat and quickly turn its attention to this week’s matchup. The Baylor Bears are traveling to Morgantown on Saturday for another home tilt for the Mountaineers.
Let’s take another look at WVU’s first loss and preview what’s to come this weekend with Baylor.
WVU football goes down
After going down early, the Mountaineers showed a lot of heart and fought the rest of the way. A 70-yard touchdown strike from Jarret Doege to Winston Wright Jr. got them on the board and provided some hope to the rest of the squad.
The Cowboys kicked a field goal right before the half to head into the break with a 20-7 lead.
It was the Mountaineers’ defense that then set the tone in the third quarter. OSU’s first four possessions in the second half resulted in three punts and an interception.
Senior Tony Fields II picked off the Cowboys’ freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth with just a few minutes remaining in the third.
WVU closed the gap to only seven points after an 11-play drive led to another Evan Staley field goal.
That was the closest it would get, as Oklahoma State put the nail in the coffin with a great drive to finish the game. It went 80 yards on 15 plays to score another touchdown and put this contest out of reach.
While a loss is never fun, there is a lot to be optimistic about. The defense played well for the majority of the afternoon, and several players on offense stood out.
Doege completed over 54% of his passes for 285 yards and a score. Although he didn’t throw an interception, he did commit a costly fumble.
Beside the touchdown grab, Wright Jr. was the best option outside for the Mountaineers. The sophomore tallied six receptions for 127 yards.
Doege was able to distribute the ball well, though. Seven other players caught a pass on Saturday.
The running game was decent, too. Leddie Brown gained over 100 rushing yards for the second consecutive week.
WVU Football vs. Baylor preview
WVU proved it has a lot of talent, but it’s clearly not good enough to overcome several crucial mistakes against quality opponents. In order to win in the Big 12, it will need to clean some things up.
This week, the Mountaineers are looking to get back in the win column against the Baylor Bears.
Baylor won its first game of the year this past weekend when it took down Kansas with ease. The Bears won by 33 points.
Similar to Oklahoma State, Baylor will most likely look to run the ball often. As a team, it rushed over 40 times for more than 200 yards in the opener.
Senior John Lovett led the way, carrying 17 times for 78 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears’ quarterback, Charlie Brewer, is also a threat in the ground game. He rushed eight times against Kansas.
Baylor has been known to spread the field and air the ball out, as well. Brewer completed over 65% of his attempts last week to seven different receivers.
Trestan Ebner led all Bears in receiving yards; however, he impacted the game more on special teams.
Ebner returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and followed that up with another 83-yard strike after his defense forced a safety.
With the rushing and receiving touchdowns, Ebner scored a total of four times on Saturday. He will certainly be someone whom WVU must keep its eye on.
On the other side of the ball, junior linebacker Terrel Bernard paces the Baylor defense.
He was a menace in the first game, recording eight total tackles to lead the team. Bernard also added 3.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks.
ESPN’s Football Power Index sees this as a very tight matchup. It gives WVU about a 47% chance to win.
College football betting odds at WV sportsbooks
WV sportsbooks agree and think this game will come down to the wire.
The WV sports betting crowd has several online sports betting apps to chose from:
Each of these mobile platforms offers betting odds for this weekend’s college football slate, including WVU vs. Baylor.
At the moment, DraftKings shows the following odds for Saturday’s game:
- WVU +3
- Moneyline: +125
- Baylor -3
- Moneyline: -152
- Over 53.5 (-110)
- Under 53.5 (-110)