Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Struggling Bears looking for positives in regular-season finale vs. WVU

MORGANTOWN — The Baylor Bears have won just one game in the last two months.

With its regular-season finale against West Virginia coming up this weekend (7 p.m./FS1), Baylor (3-8, 2-6 Big 12) head coach Dave Aranda isn’t worried so much about getting a win as much as he just wants to see his team play a good game.

“I think it’s important, number one, to play well,” Aranda said Monday. “To play well when it matters most in this last game in particular. There have been moments in games, critical moments, where we come up short. Of all things, I want to be able to see that when it matters most, we are executing.”

The Bears have lost four games in a row, with their last win coming on Oct. 21 against Cincinnati. That stretch includes a one-point, 25-24 loss in overtime to Houston and blowout losses to Kansas State and TCU.

“When anything negative happens, you fight the negative attachments to the past,” Aranda said. “We’re fighting that fight right now. To get a victory would be a victory over that and you cleanse the windshield, sort to speak, and you can see clearly that what’s always been there is a winner.”

Aranda’s counterpart on Saturday, WVU coach Neal Brown, has a similar goal in mind for his Mountaineers.

“For me, we need to continue to play well,” Brown said. “That Oklahoma game is in my craw, not because we lost, but because we just didn’t play very well. For me, it’s just about playing good football.”

WVU rebounded from a 59-20 loss at Oklahoma to defeat Cincinnati 42-21 last week. The Mountaineers are 7-4 (5-3 Big 12) with a bowl game on their horizon, but don’t want to overlook a road game at Baylor.

“We understand it’s a tough place to play,” said Brown, who is 0-2 in Waco as WVU’s coach. “I’m not sure we need to be overlooking anybody. To me, it’s just about finishing. We’ve got a singular focus this week, it’s the only game where there’s not any school stuff to worry about.”

A win would give the Mountaineers their first eight-win season since 2018 and just their fourth since joining the Big 12.

For Baylor, a victory would give the Bears something to feel good about as they head into the offseason

“I think for the team, this would be a relief,” Aranda said. “For the team, it would be ‘this is what that feels like.’ It would be a validation for working hard, it would be a way to send the seniors out as winners.”