3rd and 1 at BAY 35 (7:15 - 3rd) Skyler Howard pass complete to David Sills for 35 yds for a TD, (Josh Lambert KICK)
Playing in Waco, Texas has not been kind to the Mountaineers. West Virginia has been shellacked in both games played at Baylor. The end result of this game was no different than the 2013 game but it did involve burning a redshirt for David Sills.
Baylor scored a touchdown on their opening possession. West Virginia answered on a 70 yard scamper by Shelton Gibson. Baylor would return the favor, making the score 14-7, before both defenses forced punts. Baylor would then kick a field goal taking a 17-7 lead.
Skyler Howard was able to lead a sustained drive, going 14 plays and consuming nearly six minutes of game clock. That drive featured David Sills first catch and officially burned his redshirt. It was worth it as Sills caught a 29 yard pass, setting up a 6-yard Cody Clay touchdown.
Baylor immediately scored a touchdown before both teams traded field goals. The half ended 27-17 in favor of Baylor after Josh Lambert missed a 35-yard field goal. Given how potent Baylor was, holding the Bears to 27 points in a half was good work for the defense.
The second half opened with WVU punting to Baylor. The Bears turned that change of possession into a touchdown. West Virginia would take over at their own 25 down 17 points and needing a score to keep the game close.
WVU immediately moved backwards on a false start. Wendell Smallwood was not able to gain a yard but Shelton Gibson caught a pass for 15 yards and a first down. A Smallwood run for three yards followed by a pass interference call on Baylor put the Mountaineers into Baylor territory.
Rushel Shell gained two yards on a first down carry followed by seven yards on a second down run. Staring at third and one, Skyler Howard stared in the face of an oncoming free rusher and unleashed a beautiful deep fade to Sills. Sills was able to get past cornerback Ryan Reid and then use his 6'-3" frame to block out the shorter Reid while catching the fade over his shoulder and getting a foot down for the touchdown.
Why it's a top ten play:
In a game that eventually got away from the Mountaineers, this touchdown at least showed that there is talent for 2016. Sills was a top quarterback prospect, famously being offered as a seventh grader by USC coach Lane Kiffin. Sills may never be a quarterback for the Mountaineers, but he has shown steady growth and this touchdown should give fans a reason to believe the offense can be near the tops in the Big 12 in 2016.
This play also makes the top ten because Sills made a transition from quarterback to receiver and burned a redshirt in his freshman year. A couple of years ago when Dana burned William Crest's redshirt to play in the Towson game, I thought the move was curious, given that it was unlikely Crest would enter another game that year. Ultimately Crest was injured and received a medical redshirt. I was quite adamant that burning Sills' redshirt in a game we most certainly were going to get embarrassed in was a bad move.
Sills and Dana proved me wrong over the course of the season. In the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, David Sills caught the game winning touchdown. It would be his only other touchdown for the season but David showed tremendous growth throughout the season.