West Virginia at (12) Baylor
Time: Thursday, 7 PM CST
Spread: BAY -17.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Baylor is 7-0 and ranked No. 12 in this week’s AP poll. It will host visiting West Virginia as heavy 17.5-point favorites in NCAA football action Thursday night. The game will air at 7 PM CST on ESPN, and
the point total is set at 57 points according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes.
Baylor thus far has been a dominant balance of running and passing the football. It ranks No. 27 in passing yards at 281.4 per game and No. 32 in rushing at 202.7 per. The Bears totaled 38.9 points per game while holding its opponents to just 19.1, good for a differential of +19.8 points per game.
Bears’ starting quarterback Charlie Brewer has been superb. He has thrown for 1,866 yards at a 66.3 percent clip with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Though he has been sacked 12 times, Brewer has rushed the football quite well with 145 yards on his 61 rush attempts, including six touchdowns, a team-best.
The top-four rushers all average nearly six yards-per-carry or better on the season. John Lovett is the RB1, with 65 attempts for 446 yards and four touchdowns, while No. 2 option JaMycal Hasty has 56 attempts for 362 yards and four touchdowns. Backup quarterback Gerry Bohanon has 18 attempts at a team-best 10.1 yards-per-carry, for 181 yards and two touchdowns on the season, while Trestan Ebner rounds out the options of significance with his 26 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
The top receivers have been Denzel Mims and Tyquan Thornton, who have caught 59 passes between them for 519 and 507 yards, respectively. Hasty has 16 catches for 143 yards out of the backfield. Mims has five TD receptions and Thornton has three, and the Bears have totaled 13 receiving touchdowns on the season while having totaled 22 via the rush. Kicker John Mayers is 31 of 31 on PATs and 5 of 7 on field goals, with both of his misses, have come from 30 to 39 yards. His long-field goal thus far is just 38-yards.
West Virginia is 3-4 on the season and comes in as losers of its past three contests. Losses to then-No. 11 Texas three weeks ago, Iowa State, and No. 5 Oklahoma last week have taken the winds out of the Mountaineers sails following a 3-1 start to the season. It had knocked off NC State and Kansas prior to the three-game skid it is mired in currently.
The offense has been a problem for West Virginia, which averages just 22.7 points per game. Its rush attach has been particularly futile with just 88.1 yards per game, ranking No. 125 among FBS schools. The Mountaineers do generate 226 yards per game via the pass but still rank just No. 73 in that regard and with the defense surrendering 33.4 points per game the Mountaineers find itself with a point differential of -10.7.
Starting quarterback Austin Kendall has been good, but not without his problems. He has thrown for 1,429 yards on the season with a decent 63.5 percent completion ratio, but he has thrown seven interceptions to his 11 touchdowns and he averages just 6.4 yards-per-pass. Kendall has rushed 33 times for 61 yards and a touchdown, but averages under two yards-per-carry. Top rusher Kennedy McKoy averages just 2.8 yards-per-carry on his 66 attempts, though he does have three rushing touchdowns, a team-high.
No. 2 option Leddie Brown is not much better at 3.3 yards-per-attempt, and he has just 184 yards on the season. The Mountaineers average under three yards per rush attempt as a team. Top receiver TJ Simmons has caught 31 passes for 409 yards and four touchdowns, and Sam James has a team-high 41 catches for 388 yards.
McKoy has caught 21 passes out of the backfield for 89 yards, but he has no touchdowns. The Mountaineers really need to improve so much on both ends of the football it is tough to imagine it staying in the game this week with a tough Baylor offense that probably will be too much for the Mountaineers, if it does even muster the offense of its own, which is somewhat dubious given the lack of rushing production, and the pressure that puts on Simmons and James, without much depth behind them at wide receiver.