WVU football: Bailey back in form after ankle injury
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Junior receiver Stedman Bailey, limited the previous three games with a bad ankle and out of the starting lineup in the previous week's loss to TCU, caught 14 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 55-34 loss to Oklahoma State.
Bailey's receptions tied Tavon Austin's school record set Sept. 29 against Baylor. He had caught 12 passes for 120 yards and a score the previous two games.
"The last couple weeks my ankle has been hurting a whole lot and certain cuts I noticed I couldn't make when I was on the field and it affected me and slowed me down a little bit," he said. "I've been doing all I can to get myself back to 100 percent. I'm probably still not 100 percent and it doesn't feel like how my right ankle does."
Not coincidentally, quarterback Geno Smith had his best game in this four-game losing streak and was 36-for-54 for 364 yards and two touchdowns.
"It helps," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "I think we all understand that."
Bailey bailed WVU out of a fourth-and-13 jam in the first quarter when he caught a 37-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Paul Millard. He was in the game after Smith was sacked on third down and lost his helmet. Bailey still leads the nation with 16 touchdown catches. He added a 75-yard reception in the third quarter, the longest non-scoring pass play in Coach Dana Holgorsen's 22 games at WVU.
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THE MOUNTAINEERS (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) hosts No. 13 Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday. WVU hasn't lost five in a row since 1986. The school hasn't lost three home games in a season since 2001, the last time WVU also lost five or more regular season games. The Mountaineers have a two-game home losing streak. A three-game slide would be the longest since 1990.
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SMITH FINISHED with 363 yards of offense and has 10,772 in his career. That set a school record and passed former quarterback Pat White's total of 10,529.
Smith also tied the school's single-season record with 31 touchdown passes - as many as he had last season and as many as Marc Bulger had in 1998. Smith will leave WVU with three of the top four single-season totals in school history.
Smith also had a rushing touchdown and has 91 scores in his career, which is second in school history to White's 103.
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THE MOUNTAINEERS have allowed 373 points in nine games, already setting a school record. WVU allowed 364 in an 11-game season in 1978. A year ago, WVU allowed the third-most points in school history.
WVU is averaging 40 points per game and allowing 41.4. The last time WVU allowed more per game than it scored was 2001. Those Mountaineers scored 21.4 and allowed 24.4. Never before has a WVU team scored 30 or more points per game and allowed 30 or more points per game.
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CURTIS FEIGT started a second straight game at right tackle. He followed Pat Eger, who started the first six games there, and Nick Kindler, who started the seventh.
Starting left guard Josh Jenkins lost his helmet on a play in the first half and was relieved by Eger. He played the rest of the way there, except one sequence where right guard Jeff Braun left the field and Eger moved over and Jenkins returned for just a few plays.
Holgorsen said Eger had been working more at guard lately because he hadn't been playing well at tackle.
"We're at the same point this season that happened to us last year," he said. "We need to have about eight guys that we can rotate in there and we don't have that."
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THE MOUNTAINEERS have allowed a slew of big plays this season, but also plenty of big-play scores. The defense surrendered 14 touchdowns that covered 20 yards or more the first eight games and then five against Oklahoma State.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-11523. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.