Looking at the slate of games that is scheduled for week five of the FBS action one game easily sticks out in my mind as the best game of the week. That game is the #25 Baylor Bears (3-0) heading to Morgantown to take on the #9 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) in the Mountaineers’ first Big 12 conference game since bolting from the Big East. This game will feature two of the nation’s most prolific offenses and there shouldn’t be a shortage of points scored.
The Bears enter the game averaging 361.7 passing yards (5th in FBS), 207 rushing yards (35th in FBS) and 51.3 points per game (5th in FBS) while allowing 29.7 points per contest (90th in FBS). Senior quarterback Nick Florence is having a tremendous year as Robert Griffin III’s successor passing for 1,004 yards, 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions while completing 71 of his 110 pass attempts for a percentage of 64.5. There were questions if Florence could step in help this Bears team have a solid season following RG3’s departure and so far he is answering all of them well but this will be his first true test.
Florence will be looking to hook up with two of his favorite targets down field senior wide receiver Terrance Williams (17 receptions for 353 yards and 4 TD) and junior wide receiver Tevin Reese (15 receptions for 353 yards and 3 TD) in order to rack up points on the board and keep their undefeated season intact. The Bears will also need their running game to do a good job of controlling the possession in attempts to keep the Mountaineers high powered offense off of the field.
West Virginia is looking to make a big splash in their first taste of Big 12 action and what a better way to do so then a big-time win against a team that is also unbeaten on the season. The Mountaineers are averaging 370 passing yards (3rd in FBS), 159 rushing yards (69th in FBS) and 47.3 points (10th in FBS) per contest while allowing 22.3 points per game (53rd in FBS). Senior signal caller Geno Smith is having arguably the best season of any quarterback in the FBS so far. Smith has thrown for 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 81.4% of his passes (96-118 and has yet to throw an interception. He will look to continue his excellent season and hook up with his pair of diminutive senior wideouts Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Austin (5’9”) has hauled in 34 of Smith’s completions for 345 yards and five touchdowns while also carrying the ball six times for 84 yards. Bailey (5’10”) has caught 28 of Smith’s receptions for 332 yards and five touchdowns. West Virginia will also need a strong performance out of senior tailback Shawne Alston (30 carries for 185 yards and 3 TD) because like the Bears, the Mountaineers also need to control the possession so they can keep their opponents high-powered offense off of the field.
In the end West Virginia will earn a tough victory in their first Big 12 conference game in a shootout 45-38.