A Baylor-WVU shootout? Not so fast
September, 26, 2012
By David Ubben | ESPNDallas.com
Prepare yourselves for as many lame high-scoring game jokes as possible before West Virginia and Baylor kick off Saturday at noon in Morgantown.
"Make sure all the bulbs on the scoreboard work!"
"Gentlemen, start your engines!"
"West Virginia state law forbids the possession of defense-like substances, so..."
Hardy har har har, or something. The over/under for Saturday's game is a healthy 79.5 points, and the prediction? A prescription for plenty of aspirin for defensive coordinators Phil Bennett (Baylor) and co-coordinators Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson (West Virginia).
That over/under? It's nothing new for DeForest, who's seen higher. It's been a whole 11 months to the day, in fact, since DeForest last saw it.
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesWill we see shootout when Geno Smith and West Virginia host Baylor on Saturday?
Last season, the Big 12's top two quarterbacks and top two offenses went head to head in Stillwater, where DeForest spent 11 years coaching special teams and safeties, also earning a title as associate head coach under Mike Gundy.
His safeties were tasked with reigning in eventual Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, and the prediction was for a pointsplosion of the highest order.
At halftime? Oklahoma State had given up exactly zero points while the offense raced to a 35-0 lead that grew to 49-3 after three quarters. RG3? Please, said the Pokes defense, who forced five turnovers on the day and walked away with a 59-24 win that did, in fact, clear that over/under after Baylor scored three garbage time touchdowns.
"Oklahoma State did such a good job of moving the ball on offense," Holgorsen said of that game and another in 2010. The over/under for that RG3/Weeden showdown was 72.5, but Oklahoma State again held Baylor scoreless in the first half, forced three turnovers and raced to a 41-7 lead over the Bears before winning 55-28.
"Baylor was always playing from behind," Holgorsen added.
Could DeForest work his magic against Briles again in Morgantown on Saturday and turn a shootout into a blowout?
"We’re going to look at those tapes to try and just like coach Briles and his staff’s going to look at those tapes to try and see those similarities," Holgorsen said. "There’s some things that we can do better. There’s some things that they can do better, and so forth. Every year’s different."
It is, but Oklahoma State's seemed to have the magic touch in shutting down Baylor's high-powered offense. Now, DeForest and Holgorsen are the biggest two pieces of Morgantown's program that's become a sort of "Stillwater East" since Holgorsen took over. DeForest replaced Jeff Casteel, who took his talents to Arizona to follow his former boss, Rich Rodriguez. Holgorsen added running backs coach Robert Gillespie and former OSU cornerback Andrew McGee as a graduate assistant.
Now, it's up to a new group of players but another big-armed quarterback and playmaking receivers to be the Kryptonite to the supermen of Baylor's offense who have the nation's No. 6 offense this year and were No. 2 in 2011.
"When Baylor lines up to play Oklahoma State this year, it’s going to be a completely different ball game, so you can try to take some things and learn from it, but ultimately, it’s preparing the team you have this year the best you ultimately can to be in position and make some plays," Holgorsen said.