WACO, Texas — Did the worst defensive performance in West Virginia (and Big 12) football history unravel all the morale-building from the season’s first five weeks?

No. 17 Baylor’s 73-42 runaway victory erupted in a cacophony of 864 yards, 10 touchdowns and more breakdowns than Keith Patterson cared to count. The loss sapped WVU’s defensive coordinator of all the optimism he derived from the previous week’s upset of Oklahoma State.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia defensive coordinator Keith Patterson had no answers during Saturday’s 73-42 loss in which Baylor set a Big 12 record with 864 yards.

“I thought our kids would gain a lot of momentum from last week … but today we didn’t have it,” Patterson said.

From the third play of the game—when Bryce Petty fired a 61-yard touchdown pass to an uncovered Antwan Goodley—WVU’s defense looked baffled and punch-drunk.

Petty finished 17-of-25 for 347 yards and two touchdowns, numbers compiled despite exiting after the first drive of the third quarter, by which time Baylor led 63-21. In fact, the Bears’ first-team offense did to West Virginia (3-3, 1-2) just what it had done to Wofford, Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe.

After scoring on 22-of-26 drives in three nonconference games, Baylor’s starters scored touchdowns on nine of 10 drives Saturday, a parade of points interrupted only by Petty throwing an interception to Daryl Worley on third-and-20 deep in WVU territory.

That stop was an anomaly for WVU’s defense, which surrendered 468 yards rushing, including 172 to Lache Seastrunk, who turned his mere 15 carries into a Heisman highlight reel. Most impressive was an 80-yard gallop that put Baylor up 28-7 barely 10 minutes into the first quarter.

Consider how many yards Seastrunk might have added had he carried the ball in the second half. That’s when Baylor turned instead to freshman Shock Linwood, who netted 126 yards on 14 rushes, including a 55-yarder that is easily the longest of this young career. Before the night ended, Baylor had eight rushing touchdowns.

“We didn’t do anything we set out to do,” Patterson said. “We didn’t stop the run. We couldn’t stop the vertical shot.

“We got whipped everywhere. We tried every coverage, every set. We tried moving our anchor points, we tried zone pressure. But you’ve got to give Baylor credit—they physically whipped us. It seemed like absolutely nothing worked.”

More about that frantic first quarter: Baylor’s 369 yards in the opening 15 minutes were the most by any NCAA team in any quarter in the past decade.

This wasn’t just a low point for 2013. It was an all-time slaughter, with WVU made to look more feeble than at any point from last season, which we wrongly believed to be as low as a Mountaineers defense could sink.

“I’ve never seen a team establish the line of scrimmage like (Baylor) did,” said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, who promoted Patterson to coordinator over Joe DeForest before last year’s Pinstripe Bowl. The move seemed to be paying dividends until Saturday night, when Baylor accumulated the most yards ever by a Big 12 offense. The

“We’ve been pretty proud about how we’ve been playing defense around here the last five games,” Holgorsen said, “but you can’t play defense when the line of scrimmage is 5 yards backward every single play.”

“It’s on us—you can’t put it on schemes,” said West Virginia senior safety Darwin Cook. “We just came out here and laid an egg.

“The way we practiced and the way we prepared, it wasn’t about having a hangover from the Oklahoma State game or anything like that. I didn’t think we were too high on ourselves or nothing.”

Yet Patterson clearly saw the emotional contrast between his unit succeeding against Oklahoma State and being blasted by Baylor seven days later.

“It’s not good enough to do it one week and then take a step back the next week,” Patterson said. “You’re going to play good teams in the Big 12 week after week, and we’ve got to learn how to handle success.”

If coping with success really is an obstacle, the next two weeks should be a breeze.

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  • David Elswick

    Maybe while WV has 2 weeks off, the WVU coaches can come up with something to reduce the number of times the other team has a chance to score?

    Something that would give our defense more time to rest before going back on the field?

    And take pressure off of our offense?

    It is called “game clock management” – and it is simple to use.

    Coaches? Luck?

  • OldSkool

    I have a different view than most of the posts here. It was obvious that Baylor runs their offense with maximum efficiency and at a very quick tempo. Our guys were unable to line up in time to read the offense and we were out of position a lot. This is a basic lack of preparation, and falls squarely on the coaching staff. The poor tackling, however, is on the players.

    If Baylor is able to steamroll every other defense in the Big 12, then maybe we weren't as bad as everyone thinks.

  • TruthTeller

    Baylor is the real deal as you fair weather fake WVU fans will see. They are the Oregon of the Big 12. WVU needs to take notes and make Baylor a cookie cutter for lack of better words
    for the direction they need to go. To be successful you need to do what the successful do. Dana has an ego issue. He needs to swallow his pride and realize his methods don't work and man up to making the necessary adjustments he needs to be using the same methods that Baylor is using. Success breeds success. If Dana can't man up and also wake up to reality, then he needs to step down and let someone else come in and get the job done.
    I would like to see Jeff Hostetler as our new coach. But what are the odds of that happening? Well I hope they at least finish
    the season out right and get to a bowl game.
    If not, then Dana needs to go.

  • Jeff M.

    This just in.......WVU-Minus 1 @home this weekend!!!

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    We got smacked around, that is for sure.

  • Florida Boy

    I see things differantly.
    Last year started strong ended horrible, this year we have started very weak and we will end strong. I also believe it will be enough momentum to thrust us into the next year strong with a bunch of young kids that will be battle tested.
    Oh by the way William you are still a runny, wet, moucus laced, camel fart.
    Good day gents and lets Go Mountaineers!!!!

  • Fred

    When you hire a strength and conditioning coach from a school that had been getting pushed all over the field by everyone for years ........this is what you get !

  • peleliu

    Problem is, we can't fire him till he has won 80% of his games like Stew.

  • pghmountaineer

    This is so sad. I've been a Mountaineer for 30 years and I've never seen a coaching staff this bad. They don't seem to have a clue.
    Let's all remember, Holgs had his best days as a head coach with Bill Stewart's recruits.

  • Jonus Grumby

    Welcome to the Big 12.

  • susanf

    Baylor could have beaten us by at least double the points they had racked up in the 1st half if they had wanted to. This team is in WAY over its head. And it continues to amaze me how people can continue to support and defend Holgersen. He looks completely bewildered and it is obvious he has no idea what to do.

    • 2019jones

      well said..

  • eduardo

    Fair weather fans:Shut up and pick a new team to route for, we dont want you. Shut your stupid mouths.

  • Wow

    WVU, both players and coaches, did not believe they could beat Baylor, it showed in the way they played and the way they coached. Now add that to playing the best offense in college football and you see what you get. If you dont think you can win, why show up to play. I see no grit and no nastyness with this team, even if you are getting beat the other team should know you are on the field. After Baylors 3rd score WVU just wanted to get on the bus and go home, where is the pride?

  • Bryan

    Up and down weeks are to be expected while try to build or rebuild a program and patience is a virtue. If I recall all was great when we had an experienced team that had under achieved and Holgerson led them to a 70-33 win. And did Clemson give up and quit, fire all their coaches, ad's, players and fans? No they regrouped and moved on and have become a pretty good team, same as WVU will do. When this staff and team come together and become competitive every week all will be forgotten by our narrow minded fans. Until then cheer on what we have, it's still exciting because we never know what we will get from game to game. LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS, NOW AND FOREVER UNCONDITIONALLY !

    • onemorevoice

      Could not agree more! Well said.

  • JTC

    This season is going to be unpredictable with some very high highs and low lows, just stay the course give Holgorsen thru the end of the 2014 season then make an adjustment if necessary. Panic is not an option.

    • BH

      This is a young team that will play poorly on the road. I would not be surprised if WVU won all their home games.