WVU football: Baylor has 'best tempo and the best team'
WACO, Texas - Not that Shaq Rowell predicted what happened Saturday night or that he ever thought his West Virginia team would lose to No. 17 Baylor 73-42, but he had a feeling long ago.
"I said weeks ago Baylor has the best tempo and the best team, and they turned it up even more here," the senior nose guard said. "I can't give those guys enough credit. I know they're going to win the Big 12. Nobody's going to beat those guys."
Rowell was among the handful of Mountaineers who were consistently pushed back by Baylor's massive offensive line, which started players who weighed
310, 330, 295, 340 and 315 pounds.
"Those guys were great," Rowell said. "I'm not going to sit here and make excuses for anybody, including myself. I got blown off the ball a few times."
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OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson maintained his commitment to Clint Trickett as his starting quarterback, but Coach Dana Holgorsen remains aggravated with the inability to effectively communicate with the junior transfer from Florida State.
After making a big deal out of their shortcomings working with one another in Trickett's debut against Oklahoma State, Holgorsen said it was "very average" against Baylor.
"I'm not doing something right evidently," he said. "There were a lot of times the first couple series when I was giving him specific orders and they were not being followed. I must not be doing something right."
Trickett started for the second straight game, but Holgorsen was pulling Trickett for random plays in the first quarter because he said he was tired of Trickett's clueless stares at the sideline. Holgorsen said he put Paul Millard in the game in those spots because Holgorsen said Millard could handle the play calls.
"We weren't getting called what I felt like we needed to get called," Holgorsen said.
Millard played the entire fourth quarter, when Dawson said he and Holgorsen decided they'd had enough of the communication problems.
Trickett finished 9-for-28 for 161 yards and a touchdown. He, too, was frustrated by the trouble he and Holgorsen are having corresponding with one another.
"One time the play clock got down to six seconds, so you've got to take a timeout and eat it," Trickett said. "Other times you pretty much call your own play and what you think is best for the situation to make the most successful play. But that only happened once. If you want to make a big deal out of it, it only happened once or twice."
Millard was 8-for-13 for 115 yards and fourth-quarter touchdowns to Ronald Carswell and Kevin White.
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TRICKETT INJURED his right (throwing) arm against Oklahoma State and Holgorsen didn't name him Saturday's starter until Thursday. Trickett, who was hit hard often by Baylor, favored the shoulder during and after the game and said he came out of the game because of communication and injury issues.
"I'm not a trainer, I'm not a doctor, but I went out there and gave it my all and I'm proud of myself for that," he said. "I'm not going to make excuses for anything. I didn't execute the way I needed to to win the game."
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SAFETY DARWIN COOK was nearly the first WVU player ejected for targeting.
He was flagged for the rule new this season when he tackled Antwan Goodley on the sideline and went helmet-to-helmet at the end of a 42-yard gain in the second quarter. Cook was tossed out of the game, though only briefly. The ejection was overturned on a review.
"I never put my head down," Cook said. "I always tackle with my face. I knew it wasn't targeting, but I thought they were going to kick me out."
Redshirt freshman Adam Pankey wasn't as fortunate in the fourth quarter. Pankey, a left tackle playing his second career game, was ejected for targeting a defenseless Baylor player late in the game. He'll miss WVU's Oct. 19 home game against Texas Tech.
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THE MOUNTAINEERS started the season games on six consecutive Saturdays. Baylor had only played three games before Saturday and just one in the previous 27 days. WVU is off this weekend.
"We need to regroup," Holgorsen said. "We've been going hard 10 straight weeks. That was a much fresher football team than us. That was very evident. They were fresher and faster. It was very apparent to me. We need some down time.
"That said, we need some practice time to get better. Do you keep grinding them in hopes they get better or do you give them time to regroup? We'll do a little of both."
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No. 20 Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0) plays host to Iowa State on Saturday. If the Red Raiders win, they'll be 6-0 and perhaps a top-15 team. That would be WVU's fourth ranked opponent this season - each in Big 12 play - and fifth unbeaten opponent.
"We're a mentally tough team," Trickett said. "We got beat pretty bad by Maryland and we came back the next week and beat Oklahoma State. I'm not worried about that."
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WVU never made Baylor punt and the Bears still haven't had a three-and-out all season. The Mountaineers had seven opportunities to force one, but Baylor picked up the first down every time. Four of the conversions came on pass plays covering 30, 36 and 42 yards and one run play that went for 56 yards.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.