Football, Local Sports, Sports, WVU Sports

Baylor coach Matt Rhule says he didn’t see loss to West Virginia coming

MORGANTOWN — Coming off a close loss at Texas, the Baylor football team had to feel pretty good about itself heading into Thursday night’s game at West Virginia.

The Bears are a game over .500 more than halfway through the season, something not even the team itself saw likely two years ago when it was in complete turmoil and ridden in scandal.

But the Bears were blitzed early and often against the Mountaineers and before the clock hit halftime, the Bears were staring at a 41-0 deficit and were beaten badly in almost every facet of the game.

“I didn’t see this coming,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “I thought we practiced well and I thought we would play well. We knew West Virginia would be excited and ready to go, but we didn’t play well in any phase.”

The offense only mustered 287 yards and 14 points, while the defense couldn’t slow down WVU’s passing attack to the tune of 396 yards and four touchdowns.

Baylor’s four turnovers to West Virginia’s zero also put the Bears in tough situations early on.

“I don’t want to say we weren’t focused, but we weren’t doing our job at a high level and we weren’t playing hard enough to get the job done,” safety Verkedric Vaughns said. “As a competitor, you don’t ever want to lose that bad. We’re going to feel it and it’s going to carry over to the next game, and it’s going to motivate us from here on out.”

Quarterback Charlie Brewer was knocked out of the game in the second quarter after throwing three interceptions, though two can be credited to receivers not making plays. Brewer then left the game with an apparent injury, though Rhule isn’t sure exactly what forced his starting QB out of the game.

Brewer was replaced by Jalan McClendon, who finished with 183 yards and completed over 75 percent of his passes, a welcomed sign for the Bears.

Still, the turnovers put Baylor behind early.

“It definitely hurts your chances when you turn the ball over that many times,” center Sam Tecklenburg said. “That’s on everyone. That’s on us as an O-line protecting and making sure the quarterbacks have plenty of time to see where they’ve got to go. It’s on the whole offense, so we’re going to definitely have to make that a focus point next week.”

Baylor will look to bounce back next week, hosting Oklahoma State.