Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver David Sills V (13) makes a 35-yard touchdown catch in front of Baylor Bears cornerback Harrison Hand (31) in the first half at McLane Stadium.

 

WACO, Texas — Recapping the game as No. 23 West Virginia (5-2, 3-1) survived winless Baylor (0-7, 0-4) at McLane Stadium:

Final stats

— Baylor held a slim yardage edge 497-493, with 230 yards in the fourth quarter when it outscored WVU 23-0.

— Will Grier finished 26-of-37 for 375 yards and five touchdowns. His counterparts, Zach Smith and the splendid-in-relief Charlie Brewer, combined for 370 on the Baylor side.

— West Virginia had a pair of 100-yard receivers: David Sills with seven catches for 136 and Gary Jennings with eight totaling 116. Sills enjoyed his third three-touchdown performance of the season.

— The Bears saw two receivers break 100 also: Denzel Mims had seven grabs for 132 yards and running back Trestan Ebner caught five for 109.

Fourth quarter

ONSIDE: West Virginia salvaged a 38-36 win on Hakeem Bailey’s recovery.

TOUCHDOWN: Charlie Brewer 9-yard pass to Trestan Ebner (0:17) WVU leads 38-36
Baylor’s comeback reached terminal velocity with Brewer scrambling, Ebner getting open downfield, and WVU earning a delay of game flag on defense. The touchdown was weird, too, with Brewer fumbling the snap, scooping it up and finding his running back on a delayed route. The all-important 2-point try failed, however, when Xavier Preston sacked Brewer. (Drive: 13 plays, 69 yards in 4:17)

— Despite picking up a first down, West Virginia milked only 93 seconds before punting the ball away. Baylor fair-caught it at the 14.

FIELD GOAL: Connor Martin 23-yarder (6:07) WVU leads 38-30
Baylor scored again, and a Corey Winfield personal foul played a role again, setting up first-and-goal after he hit Brewer a step out of bounds. (Drive: 13 plays, 69 yards in 6:01)

— WVU went three-and-out, failing to slow the home team’s roll when Simms failed to pull in Grier’s deep pass.

TOUCHDOWN: Trestan Ebner 40-yard run (13:50) WVU leads 38-27
Tony Gibson must be beside himself after Ebner gashed his defense for a breakaway touchdown. That’s two scores in 41 seconds, and back-to-back scoring drives that covered five plays combined. (Drive: 2 plays, 49 yards in 0:41)

— ONSIDE KICK: Baylor recovers the bouncing ball.

TOUCHDOWN: Charlie Brewer 52-yard pass to Trestan Ebner (14:31) WVU leads 38-20
Baylor went to its freshman backup Brewer, who play-faked and zipped a sideline pass to Ebner. Too easy a score there, but WVU is always susceptible to big plays. (Drive: 3 plays, 80 yards in 0:33)

Third quarter

— After Kennedy McKoy squirted through for a 20-yard gain. Grier gave Simms a chance on a 50-plus bomb, but Baylor cornerback Taion Sells broke it up and WVU punted.

— Baylor went three-and-out for the second straight series.

TOUCHDOWN: Grier 6-yard pass to Ka’Raun White (6:00) WVU leads 38-13
Target practice continued for Grier, starting with a 51-yard bomb to Jennings, who beat Grayland Arnold. One play later, White caught an easy fade route, giving Grier his fifth touchdown pass of the game and No. 26 for the season. (Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards in 1:43)

— Baylor went three-and-out.

TOUCHDOWN: Grier 40-yard pass to Marcus Simms (6:00) WVU leads 31-13
A big series for Simms, starting with a 17-yard gain on third-and-15 after the Baylor crowd roared to life. Then Simms burned the Bears deep, giving Grier his fourth touchdown of the night. (Drive: 6 plays, 75 yards in 1:39)

TOUCHDOWN: John Lovett 7-yard run(7:39) WVU leads 24-13
After West Virginia’s Corey Winfield committed a personal foul, Gavin Holmes beat Elijah Battle for a 56-yard catch. Lovett carried it in a play later. (Drive: 4 plays, 80 yards in 2:14)

— West Virginia endured its first three-and-out of the game.

— Two WVU sacks? On the same series nonetheless? Reese Donahue got the first one, while Zeke Rose and Al-Rasheed Benton combined for the second, preceding a Baylor punt.

TOUCHDOWN: Grier 53-yard pass to David Sills (14:42) WVU leads 24-6
Off a play-action fake to Crawford, Sills took a slant to the house for his 15th touchdown of the season. Baylor’s safety took a poor angle, appearing to underestimate the speed of Sills. (Drive: 1 plays, 53 yards in 0:18)

Halftime

— WVU outgaining Baylor 247-164 at the midpoint.

— Will Grier is 15-of-19 passing for 191 yards and two touchdowns, both to David Sills.

— Baylor’s Zach Smith is 11-of-19 for 169 yards.

— Neither team doing much on the ground: West Virginia has run it 18 times for 56 yards, while Baylor has 15 carries for minus-5 yards thanks to sacks and intentional groundings.

Second quarter

TOUCHDOWN: Grier 16-yard pass to Sills (0:01) WVU leads 17-6
Around a couple Kennedy McKoy runs, Grier hit three consecutive passes for 52 yards. First was a 22-yarder to Ka’Raun White, followed by a 14-yard screen to Simms. After taking a timeout with 7 seconds, WVU risked a final play and it paid off: Sills left uncovered on a rub route in the end zone for his 14th touchdown of the 2017. (Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 1:04)

— Baylor started at the 40 and went three-and-out.

— WVU’s drive started with a 13-yard catch by Sills and ended with Jennings dropping a third-down pass between defenders. Billy Kinney’s low, 33-yard punt saw Tony Nicholson scooting up for a 14-yard return.

FIELD GOAL: Connor Martin 42-yarder (4:08) WVU leads 10-6
Baylor dug out of a second-and-19 at its own 6 when Trestan Ebner caught a pass underneath and went for 24 yards against soft, deep coverage. Mims followed with a 45-yard catch-and-run, beating Mike Daniels on a slant and turning upfield thanks to Elijah Battle’s poor angle. Three Zach Davis incompletions later, the Bears kicked. (Drive: 7 plays, 60 yards in 2:07)

— Marcus Simms’ 26-yard kick return and Kennedy McKoy’s 16-yard gain on a screen pass pushed WVU across midfield. That’s where the momentum ended however, when Grier was sacked by defensive tackle James Lynch. Two plays later, the Mountaineers faced third-and-26 Matt Jones and Kyle Bosch were charged with a chop block, and punting became inevitable.

FIELD GOAL: Connor Martin 23-yarder (10:36) WVU leads 10-3
Baylor’s third trek into plus-territory finally yielded points. After Mims jumpstarted the drive with a 26-yard catch, WVU committed back-to-back personal fouls — Al-Rasheed Benton roughing the quarterback and Mike Daniels hit for pass interference. (Drive: 8 plays, 69 yards in 4:53)

First quarter

TOUCHDOWN: Grier 35-yard pass to David Sills (0:29) WVU leads 10-0
No. 13 caught touchdown No. 13 on a jumpball over cornerback Harrison Hand. As good as Grier is, these receivers are really owning 50-50 balls the past couple weeks. Three key third-down conversions occurred earlier in the drive: A short run by Crawford, followed by a third-and-9 pass to Jennings, followed by a Baylor pass interference flag on third-and-5. (Drive: 9 plays, 66 yards in 2:41)

— The Bears crossed midfield again only to stall again. After Kyzir White’s crushing knockdown, Smith faced fourth-and-9 and threw an out-curl on which Tony Nicholson curled inside.

FIELD GOAL: Mike Molina 27-yarder (7:03) WVU leads 3-0
A decent start for the WVU offense, thanks to Grier rolling out on third-and-3 and finding Gary Jennings for 32 yards on a deep crossing route. Eventually facing third-and-7 at Baylor’s 12, WVU unveiled a new formation with four wideouts split to the right side, which led to the Bears calling timeout. WVU came out of the break with another new wrinkle: Crawford and Sills as stacked H-backs. The throw resulted in Crawford catching a 2-yard gainer in the flat and forced Molina’s kick.(Drive: 9 plays, 57 yards in 3:15)

— Baylor chewed up 4:42 on the game’s first drive, going 1-of-2 on fourth-down conversions. Terrance Williams cracked forward for 2 yards on 4th-and-1 at the WVU 41, but Smith threw incomplete for Pooh Stricklin on fourth-and-4 from the 33. Denzel Mims got loose for 34 yards on two catches.

Pregame notes

— No depth chart changes in pregame for the Mountaineers.

— Saw Baylor coach Matt Rhule walking laps around the field in pregame. I stopped counting at nine.

— West Virginia’s is averaging 44.2 points per game, on pace to be the highest-scoring offense in school history. So chill for a minute if you’re up in arms about last week’s poor rushing performance.

— Here are our MetroNews predictions for tonight:

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