Fifty-three weeks ago, West Virginia and Baylor staged a football game that has come to define the Big 12 in the second decade of the 21st century. The Mountaineers won 70-63, and it was just as wild as it sounds.
Saturday night in Waco, Baylor and West Virginia meet again, and this much we know. No way will West Virginia get to 70, or even 63. Baylor? Stay tuned.
The highflying Bears have displayed the same video-game offense of recent Big 12 seasons, albeit against outmanned foes Buffalo, Wofford and Louisiana-Monroe.
But West Virginia's offense has crashed to Earth; the Mountaineers were shut out by Maryland, scored just seven on OU and were offensively challenged even in a 30-21 upset of OSU that was engineered by the WVU defense.
The Mountaineers have used three starting quarterbacks this season, and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett will start against Baylor after getting the win against OSU.
But clearly, an improved defense is the Mountaineers' main hope Saturday night.
“Yeah, that's obviously true,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “But we'll see how they do this week playing the best offense in college football in Baylor.”
Oklahoman Keith Patterson (Marlow, America) has the WVU defense playing well in his first season as Holgorsen's coordinator.
“Coach Patterson's done a great job of corralling these guys and teaching them the game,” Holgorsen said. “Last year we had a version of his 3-4 defense, and then when he took over before the (Pinstripe) bowl game, he started installing his and his only version of the 3-4 defense.
“Having one voice is obviously the right thing, especially his voice. He's doing a fantastic job of teaching them the game the way he knows how to teach it. And then you couple that with [having] experienced guys.”
West Virginia used seven true freshmen and four redshirt freshmen in its defensive rotation in 2012. So the Mountaineer defense has grown up a bit defensively. But now comes its biggest test.