The Mountaineers let their foot off the gas against Baylor on Saturday and it almost caused them to crash.
The winning result of 38-36 is much better than a losing result. The game was almost forced into overtime, which may not have boded well for West Virginia with the way Baylor was playing.
West Virginia played three quarters of above average, maybe even elite football. The fourth quarter slipped away from the Mountaineers for a number of reasons. First of all, they had more than a 20-point lead. Any team, with only 15 minutes left to play, will nurse a lead like that. It’s easy to do, especially after playing the previous 45 minutes with all the fire and vigor in the world.
The offense connected on all cylinders in the first three quarters with Will Grier again coming into his own as a talented quarterback and overall team leader. The Mountaineers didn’t score in the fourth quarter, but it proved that they didn’t even need to reach the end zone to secure the victory.
Playcalling by head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital may have become a little more conservative against Baylor in the fourth quarter. It should have been that way, no doubt. The Mountaineers are about to enter the second half of the season which should prove to be a real meat grinder of a schedule.
This week, Oklahoma State comes in. After that, the Mountaineers will play an energized Iowa State team, an always-disciplined Kansas State team on the road, and then the two most storied programs in the Big 12 Conference, Texas and Oklahoma will test the Mountaineers. Why waste anymore talent against a winless Baylor team? The Mountaineers did just enough and moved on.
After the game, Will Grier told WV Metronews that the team got “complacent.” West Virginia’s lead was slipping away, but the time was also winding down. By nursing the lead and running the bare minimum, the Mountaineers were just hoping to hold on. In the end, they did just that and improved to 5-2 on the year.
"“I think we got complacent,” Grier said to WV Metronews. “We did play well the first three quarters but we’ve got to finish games. At the end we weren’t being us.”"
That fourth quarter was not indicative of the Mountaineers as a whole, especially how they played the first three quarters. But maybe it is exactly what this WVU football team really is. The Mountaineers could just be an average team that makes a lot of mistakes, but also shows flashes of brilliance.
With a tough schedule ahead, there is no rom for complacency moving forward. if the Mountaineers get a lead against OSU, ISU, KSU, Texas or Oklahoma, they have to keep pounding and add on.