Baylor has opened the Dave Aranda era on a positive note. It would get even better by finally winning a game at West Virginia.
The Bears aim for a first-ever road victory over the Mountaineers, who are hoping to end their own issues within the Big 12 when they meet in a conference matchup Saturday afternoon at Morgantown, W.Va.
It took some time due to COVID-19 issues, but Baylor (1-0, 1-0 Big 12) finally opened its 2020 season. Charlie Brewer threw for 142 yards with a touchdown and versatile senior Trestan Ebner scored rushing and receiving touchdowns and returned two kicks for scores (100 and 83 yards) in last weekend's 47-14 home win over Kansas.
The result takes some pressure off Aranda, who debuted as Bears coach. The longtime defensive coordinator at Wisconsin and most recently LSU, is finally getting his shot as a head coach, and early on, things look good.
Now, the focus for the Bears is to see if they can replicate that success on the road for the first time during this unique season. It's also a chance to avoid going 0-5 at West Virginia, where there will not be any fans in attendance for this contest.
"We're approaching this as this is about us, and to just take our show on the road," Aranda said.
"It's all about us ... We would really like for our players and our coaches to just be so tuned in to what we're doing."
Brewer, one of the top quarterbacks in the country over the past two seasons, threw for 277 yards with two touchdowns during Baylor's 17-14 home win over West Virginia last season. However, he was picked off three times on eight attempts in a 58-14 loss in Morgantown in 2018.
The Mountaineers (1-1, 0-1) return home after falling 27-13 at then-No. 15 Oklahoma State last weekend. West Virginia fell behind 17-0 in the first half and managed just one touchdown -- Winston Wright's 70-yard scoring pass from Jarret Doege, who went 20-of-37 for 285 yards but was also sacked five times.
Leddie Brown rushed for 104 yards on 26 carries for West Virginia, which allowed Cowboys star Chuba Hubbard and teammate LD Brown to each rush for more than 100 yards in the contest. The Mountaineers were also penalized 12 times for 106 yards.
"Extremely disappointing," West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. "We talk all of the time about WVU not beating WVU ... Before we can win big games, we've got to quit losing them."
The focus, now, for West Virginia is to not only bounce back from last weekend's loss, but avoid a sixth straight Big 12 home defeat. The Mountaineers' most recent home league win came against TCU on Nov. 10, 2018.
Brown has totaled 227 yards on 36 carries through the first two games for West Virginia. However, he's been held to 43 on 16 attempts in two career games versus Baylor.
--Field Level Media