No. 12 Baylor is Big 12 leader when hosting West Virginia
West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) at No. 12 Baylor (7-0, 4-0), Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT (ESPN).
Line: Baylor by 17 1/2.
Series record: West Virginia leads 5-2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Baylor has a nine-game winning streak and is the outright leader in the Big 12 going into the final weekend of games before this season’s first College Football Playoff rankings come out next week. The Bears are only the third FBS team since 1937 to start 7-0 within two seasons after being 0-7. UCF was the last in 2017, and Minnesota in 1960. The Mountaineers have lost three Big 12 games in a row since a win at Kansas on Sept. 21.
West Virginia left offensive tackle Colton McKivitz vs. Baylor defensive end James Lynch. The 6-foot-7, 312-pound McKivitz is a fourth-year starting tackle for the Mountaineers who moved to the left side this season. He has made 42 career starts. Lynch is the Big 12 leader with 8½ sacks, getting 5½ of those in the past three games in the three-man defensive front for the Bears. The 6-4, 295-pound Lynch has 26 career starts and his 17 career sacks leave him one short of taking over the school record.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Virginia: WR T.J. Simmons has touchdown catches in three consecutive games, with 14 catches for 210 yards the last two games. Overall this season, he has 31 catches for 409 yards and four TDs.
Baylor: RB JaMycal Hasty has averaged 133.3 all-purpose yards the past three games. Hasty had 146 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries against Oklahoma State in Baylor’s last game, when he also had three catches for 66 yards.
FACTS & FIGURES
Baylor’s defense has forced a punt on the opponent’s opening drive in all seven games this season. ... The Bears have allowed only 134 points through seven games, the fewest in the first seven games since 1995, when they gave up 97 in that span. ... The Mountaineers and Bears are playing on a Thursday night for the second season in a row. Last year in Morgantown, with quarterback Will Grier and receiver David Sills V, West Virginia had 434 total yards and a 41-0 lead at halftime on way to a 58-14 win.