The West Virginia Mountaineers put a bit of a fright into the No. 12 ranked, 7-0 Baylor Bears on Halloween night before ultimately falling just short of pulling off what would have been a sensational upset in Waco.
The loss comes at no fault to the West Virginia defense, who turned in their best performance of the season with 12 tackles for loss, 8 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Unfortunately, they had no help from their teammates on the offensive side of the ball, outside of the one spectacular adjustment by George Campbell to catch and run on a deep ball from Austin Kendall early in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
Kendall and the rest of the offense were inept through the entire first half, with their first seven drives ending with a punt and only crossing midfield on one of those drives. Still, thanks to the Campbell touchdown and a spectacular 95-yard kickoff return from Winston Wright on the ensuing offensive drive, the Mountaineers were every bit in position to stun the Bears up until the final seconds of the game.
With 3:33 remaining in the game and down 17-14, redshirt freshman kicker Casey Legg — filling in for the injured Evan Staley — booted in a 43-yard field goal that would be waved off thanks to a delay of game penalty. Legg would attempt another, this time from 48-yards, only to have it blocked. The series of events marked the first real coaching blunder from Neal Brown, who realistically should have called the timeout to save his kicker. That’s not to say the attempt after the timeout wouldn’t have been blocked anyways, but that’s a call you absolutely have to make.
The Mountaineers got another crack at it with 38 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, starting at their own five yard line, after another defensive stop. Kendall managed to move the ball 30 yards before the clock ran out as Winston Wright failed to get out of bounds after an 8 yard reception, allowing the Bears to escape with the 17-14 win.
Kendall finished the game 20-of-39 passing for 205 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
West Virginia returns to action next Saturday, November 9th, when they welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to Morgantown for a True Blue game. That game kicks off at Noon ET and will be broadcast on either ESPN2 or ESPNU, with an official designation coming this weekend.