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Mountaineers need to shut common season sturdy with a win at Baylor

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia soccer coach Neal Brown believes there’s a season for every thing.

“There’s a season the place individuals are going to fret about NIL, and there’s a season once they’re going to fret about transferring and there’s a season once they’re going to fret about bowls,” mentioned Brown, whose 7-4 Mountineers are bowl-bound this season. “We’re within the season of there’s one recreation per week, we’re within the common season and we have to have a singular deal with this week.”

With out lessons this week on account of Thanksgiving break, Brown desires West Virginia (7-4, 5-3 Massive 12) to be singularly targeted on their regular-season finale towards Baylor (7 p.m./FS1).

The Bears (3-8, 2-6) haven’t had the season they’ve needed and shall be with out beginning quarterback Blake Shapen, who suffered a head damage at their finish of their recreation final week.

“I’m unsure we should be overlooking anyone,” Brown mentioned. “To me, it’s nearly ending. We’ve bought a singular focus this week, it’s the one recreation the place there’s not any college stuff to fret about.”

The Mountaineers are coming off of one in all their most spectacular performances of Brown’s five-year tenure, a 42-21 win over Cincinnati wherein they rushed for 424 yards and 5 touchdowns. Baylor has the second-worst speeding protection within the Massive 12, permitting 179 yards per recreation, and final in scoring protection, permitting 33.3 factors per recreation.

“For me, it begins with their d-line,” Brown mentioned. “They’re extraordinarily well-coach, they’ve bought nice measurement and size, they rotate a whole lot of guys in there, they will rush the passer and so they can play you in a whole lot of totally different fronts.”

The Bears are led by senior linebacker Matt Jones, who leds the staff with 74 tackles and 10 tackles for loss with three sacks. Lineman TJ Franklins leads the staff with 3.5 sacks and has eight tackles for loss. True freshman cornerback Caden Jenkins has a trio of interceptions this season.

On offense, Baylor ranked second-last within the Massive 12 in scoring (22.4) and fourth-worst in yards (381.8).

“You possibly can see the staff, on each side of the ball, has actual sturdy identities,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda mentioned of WVU. “On offense, operating the ball and on protection a 3-4 construction with single excessive (security). You understand what you’re going to get, the issue is you’ve bought to cope with it.”

With out Shapen, Baylor will begin both Sawyer Robinson or RJ Martinez at quarterback. Robinson began video games earlier within the yr instead of Shapen and has thrown for 349 yards with one landing and 4 interceptions.

Operating backs Dominic Richardson (494 yards) and Dawson Pendergrass (322, 5 landing) lead the speeding assault whereas Monaray Baldwin leads the staff with 623 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Drake Dabney has set a brand new Baylor single-season excessive for receiving yards by a decent finish with 529 to go together with 5 touchdowns.

WVU is 1-4 all-time in Waco, with the lone win coming in 2017.

“It’s a troublesome place to play. We haven’t had a whole lot of success there as a program,” Brown mentioned. “The important thing for us is we’ve bought to have a great week. After which we’ve bought to deal with the journey and deal with taking part in at evening down in a venue we’ve struggled at.”

West Virginia is 2-3 on the highway this season. The staff’s newest journey was a 59-20 loss at Oklahoma.

“We didn’t deal with our final highway journey very effectively, in order that’s further incentive,” Brown mentioned.