WVU football: Numbers, nuggets for WVU vs. Baylor
Note: This feature appears in Mountaineer Gameday in Friday editions of the Charleston Daily Mail and Charleston Gazette. Daily Mail Sports Editor Chuck McGill provides numbers and nuggets for West Virginia University's football game. This week, he breaks down Saturday's matchup between the Mountaineers and nationally ranked Baylor. WVU is again a massive underdog to a Big 12 school.
The Big 12 hasn't been kind to Baylor in conference openers. The Bears have lost five of six - the winning percentage listed here - Big 12 openers. The most recent league opening loss came at West Virginia last season, a 70-63 Mountaineers win that rewrote the record books.
The Baylor Bears offense is tops in college football in a number of categories, including total offense (751.3 yards per game), passing offense (444.3), team passing efficiency (239.63) and scoring offense (69.7 points per game).
That's the jersey number for WVU running back Charles Sims, but it also represents the number of players who have 300 rushing yards and 150 receiving yards in the FBS this season. Sims has 388 yards on the ground and has 163 yards on 17 receptions. East Carolina's Vintavious Cooper and Toledo's David Fluellen are also in the 300-150 club.
Dating back to the 2012 regular season home finale, the West Virginia University football program has won four consecutive home games. The Mountaineers are on the road this weekend, but that number is noteworthy because WVU won those four games with four different starting quarterbacks: Geno Smith, Paul Millard, Ford Childress and Clint Trickett.
Baylor owns the longest active win streak in the Big 12 at seven games.
The Bears have lost eight games the past three seasons, but only one of those have come at Floyd Casey Stadium, the site of this weekend's game. Baylor is 15-1 at home the past three seasons, including an active win streak of six.
WVU ranks in the top 25 nationally in just one team category: net punting.
The Mountaineers, led by Nick O'-Toole, have averaged 42.81 yards on 31 punts - No. 8 nationally. Only Louisiana Tech (33) and New Mexico State (35) have more punts without a touchback.
Saturday's WVU-Baylor game features the top two rushers in the Big 12: Lache Seastrunk and Charles Sims. The Bears' Seastrunk leads the conference with 417 rushing yards and has a staggering 11 yards-per-carry average. Sims averages five yards per rushing attempt.
This weekend is No. 12 for WVU in the Big 12 Conference. Yes, that's right, the Mountaineers are playing in their 12th conference game since joining the league before the 2012 season. Baylor represents the seventh ranked league opponent WVU has faced in this span. In fact, this will be the third ranked opponent for the Mountaineers this season and all hail from the Big 12.
Baylor is a 27.5-point favorite over West Virginia. The Mountaineers have never won a game as this big of an underdog. WVU was a 19.5-point underdog to Oklahoma State last Saturday, the most points the Mountaineers have ever been an underdog and managed to win. WVU was a 28.5-point underdog at Miami in 1991 and a 35-point underdog at Miami in 2001.
Clint Trickett passed for 309 yards in his first WVU start last Saturday against Oklahoma State. The total is not a career high - he passed for 336 yards at Florida State in a win over No. 22 Clemson as a freshman in 2011 - but the 309 yards eclipsed his total passing yards for last season at FSU. He was 22-for-34 passing for 272 yards with zero touchdowns and no interceptions last season.