Baylor football registers identity with win over West Virginia
By Marquis Cooley | Sports editor
Baylor football (5-1, 3-1) rebounded from a disappointing performance against No.12 Oklahoma State University with a 45-20 victory over West Virginia University on Saturday in the McLane stadium. Head coach Dave Aranda said this game was about recording their identities on tape.
“We had to run the ball and we had to stop the race,” said Aranda. “We had to play a cleaner game. I think we’re still aiming to do it, but I thought an effort had been made to do it. And then we have to keep playing a complementary game, so if one team starts off slow, we need the other to take it over, and I thought we were able to hit a lot of those points today.
The offense was in full swing as they were capable of producing 525 total attacking yards and six touchdowns with several big plays.
“Last week we knew we hadn’t played well, like coming in after the game, watching a movie, everyone knew it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t our attack, it wasn’t was not RVO [reliable, violent offense]Said junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon. “This week we’ve had a really good week, like a very, very good week. We stacked day by day this week and knew we were going to dominate. We knew that last week we couldn’t do that anymore. We didn’t play to our potential and we felt really bad about it, and we knew there was work to be done. So we went in and we worked and we were rewarded today, so we appreciate that. “
In the first quarter, Baylor’s offense couldn’t hurt as they scored a touchdown on all three drives, moving the ball 217 total yards, including 182 in the air.
In game two of the game, Bohanon hit senior wide receiver Tyquan Thornton on a mid-tilt in which Thornton returned the field with nothing but green in front of him for a 75-yard touchdown to make the score 7- 0.
WVU (2-4, 0-3) responded with 75 yards in 6 games after a 53-yard pass from senior quarterback Jarret Doege to junior wide receiver Sam James put them in the red zone. A few plays later, Doege completed a pass to junior wide receiver Sean Ryan in the middle of the end zone for a 12-yard reception to make it 7-7.
After converting a fourth and 1 in their second practice, Bohanon threw a 44-yard pass down the right side of the field to Thornton to put the Bears in scoring territory. A few plays later, Bohanon found junior tight end Ben Sims wide open in the left corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown, closing a 75-yard drive in 8 games to give the Bears a 14-game advantage. -7.
In WVU’s next practice, Doege forced a pitch into a tight window allowing senior safety Jalen Pitre to jump the road and offer an interception to put the ball back to the Bears in a great position on the pitch. The offense quickly converted turnover to points as Bohanon scored for a stealth QB from the 1-yard line to extend the lead to 21-7.
The deep ball continued to be a weapon for Baylor in the second quarter, as Bohanon connected with sixth-year senior wide receiver Drew Estrada for a 58-yard bomb leading to an 11-yard touchdown reception for Thornton. to do it 28-7. Bohanon said his eyes “light up” when his receivers release, as he can usually anticipate this to happen before the game even begins.
“You watch so many movies, it’s like you’re standing in line before the snap, you’re like, ‘Oh that’s it,’ so you’re excited right away,” Bohanon said. “I really have to try to stay calm, make sure you don’t mess anything up by trying to do this.”
Halfway through the second quarter, WVU Red Shirt junior kicker Casey Legg would send one through the uprights at 29 yards to reduce Baylor’s lead to 28-10 before halftime, completing a 66-meter training session in 11 games.
Bohanon looked unstoppable in the first half, completing 12-17 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns to go with a rushing score. Baylor’s defense managed to make life difficult for WVU’s Doege, with three sacks and one interception.
“Coach Ron [Roberts] always has an aggressive mindset so we knew throughout the week what our plan would be and what our offense would be and we focused on the quarterback, ”said senior linebacker Terrel Bernard.
WVU opened the second half with a 12-play, 78-yard drive that resulted in a 27-yard field goal from Legg to take the lead to 28-13, taking 5:43 on the clock in the process.
After a failed side kick attempt from WVU left the Bears in good position on the pitch at the WVU 48-yard line, Baylor worked the ball on the pitch until Sims broke free. on the left sideline for a 29-yard touchdown reception, extending Baylor’s lead to 35. -13. It was Sims’ seventh career touchdown, tying him in Baylor’s record books for most close-end touchdown receptions of all time.
Later in the third quarter, the Bears found themselves scoring once more as senior running back Abram Smith broke into a hole in the middle to find dirt on a 31-yard run, increasing the lead. des Bears at 42-13.
Baylor’s first practice in the fourth quarter, a 30-yard run from senior running back Trestan Ebner on an optional play, put first-year kicker Isaiah Hankins in position to score a 45-yard field goal to give Baylor a 45-13 lead over the Mountaineers.
Near the end of the fourth quarter, WVU was scoring one last time on an 85-yard drive in 12 games that ended with a 13-yard run through freshman quarterback Garrett Greene on a QB keep to make it 45-20.
Thornton led all spreads with eight catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns while Estrada had four passes for 90 yards. On the ground, Smith ran for 88 yards and a score on 11 carries.
In what former Heisman winner Robert Griffin III called a “A performance worthy of Heisman” Bohanon finished the game 18-29 for a career-high 336 passing yards and five total TDs.
“This [was] a good showcase for Gerry and his abilities, ”said Aranda. “His composure and ability to connect, whether it’s game action passes, shooting games. I think he was able to hit on some swings and exit routes. I thought he was able to do a few feet on the ground [on] the gear option retains and some designed quarterback races. And so I think we’ve seen all of Gerry today… His growth and maturity in this space is going to be huge for us because we want to build on that more and more as we move into it. But I think for us having a game like today and being a central figure just gives our team growing confidence. “
Second-year defensive tackle Siaki Ika stood out on the defensive end of the ball in this one, being responsible for two of six sacks the Bears were able to secure. While this may be the first time he’s recorded a sack as a bear, Bernard said the team are still aware of Ika’s impact.
“Everyone in our team knows a bit like what [Ika] brings to the table, ”said Bernard. “It might not always show up on the stats sheet, I mean it does today, but it is a game-changer. It does a lot of different things that go unnoticed if you aren’t really looking for it.
Next up for Baylor is a 2:30 p.m. clash with future Big 12 conference member No.10 Brigham Young University (5-1) next Saturday at McLane Stadium.