Charlie Brewer threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns and John Mayers kicked a go-ahead 36-yard field goal to help No. 12 Baylor win its 10th game in a row, 17-14 over West Virginia on Thursday night.
The Bears (8-0, 5-0 Big 12), who two seasons ago won only one game, are the league’s only undefeated team — and one of eight remaining among FBS teams.
Mayers’ kick with 10:19 left broke a 14-all tie and put Baylor ahead to stay after a 13-play drive that took more than 6 minutes off the clock on an often frustrating night offensively for the Bears.
West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) had eight quarterback sacks. With second-and-goal from the 1 late in the second quarter, Baylor was stuffed for no gain on three consecutive plays and had to settle for a 7-0 halftime lead.
Still, the Bears avoided what happened last Saturday, when while they had an open date the Big 12′s other three ranked teams that did play lost. That included Oklahoma’s loss at Kansas State that left Baylor alone atop the conference standings.
After R.J. Sneed botched a punt return that was recovered at the Baylor 34, West Virginia couldn’t get a first down. Casey Legg kicked the ball through the uprights on a 43-yard field goal attempt, but the Mountaineers were penalized for delay of game and had to try again. Nose tackle Bravvion Roy blocked Legg’s 48-yard attempt with 3 1/2 minutes left.
The Mountaineers had two big plays for their touchdowns. George Campbell had an 83-yard catch-and-run from Austin Kendall on the first play after a punt, and Winston Wright went 95 yards for the Mountaineers’ first kickoff return for a touchdown in five years.
Wright’s return was on the ensuing kick after Brewer’s 21-yard TD pass to Denzel Mims, who opened the second half by fumbling at the end of a 30-yard reception on his first catch since taking a hard hit early in the game.
Both teams had a starting safety ejected after targeting calls.
Josh Norwood, the leading tackler for West Virginia and with four consecutive games of at least 10 tackles, was flagged after the hit on Mims late in the first quarter.
Baylor’s Chris Miller got penalized for a play against Kendall in the final minute before halftime. Miller is subject to an automatic one-game suspension because it was his third targeting penalty this season.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have lost four Big 12 games in a row for first-year coach Neal Brown since opening conference play with a win at Kansas. The Big 12′s worst offense again struggled to get anything done. With first-and-goal at the 10 on their first drive after halftime, Kendall was still calling out signals when the snap whiffed by his head. Kendall fell down, running back Leddie Brown couldn’t get the rolling ball before defensive end James Lynch finally corralled it at the 37.
Baylor: The Bears have moved up 10 spots in the AP Top 25 since first getting ranked at the start of October. They may not have been their sharpest playing on a Thursday night for so many to see in a nationally televised game, but Brewer and Co. got another victory.
West Virginia is home Nov. 9 to play Texas Tech.
Baylor travels less than 100 miles north on Interstate 35 to play at TCU on Nov. 9.
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