WACO — West Virginia did everything it needed to stay close to No. 2 Baylor for a half Saturday.
But. as has often been the case with the explosive Bear offense, it didn’t matter.
Seth Russell tossed five touchdowns, and Corey Coleman set the single-season school record for receiving touchdowns as Baylor pulled away with a 21-point third quarter in a 62-38 victory at McLane Stadium.
“It’s hard to stop our offense,” said Coleman, who pushed his record touchdown tally to 16 on the year. “We’ve got great running backs and good receivers. “You can load the box up (then) receivers got to come on and make great plays, and if you’re going to get out wide, Shock (Linwood) is going to make sure he’s running tough and fast and physical.”
Only 10 points separated the teams at half, and West Virginia (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) had two chances to pull closer at the end of the first half and to start the second.
But Coleman put the exclamation point on his historic day with his third touchdown, a 34-yard catch and run at the 9:44 mark in the third, and Baylor never looked back. Coleman finished with 199 yards on 10 catches to go with his three scores.
“If you watch him, the way he runs his routes, he’s so dynamic, so explosive,” Russell said. “You’re going to have to double team him. That’s maybe the only way you can try to stop him.”
Russell also became the second quarterback in school history to surpass 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in the same game along with Copperas Cove product Robert Griffin III who did that against Kansas in 2011.
The junior accounted for 540 yards of offense and also added a rushing score on the day.
“Man, I’m having a hard time finding fault. I really am,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said of Russell. “He’s pretty complete.”
The teams’ opening drives begged memories of past shootouts as Baylor scored in 52 seconds on its opening drive — on a 16-yard Russell keeper — while West Virginia needed just 58 seconds for its opening score, a 70-yard pass from Skyler Howard to Shelton Gibson.
Baylor (6-0, 2-0) responded on its ensuing drive — as Coleman tied the single-season touchdown record on a 2-yard pass — but the game slowed down from there thanks to the Mountaineer offense.
West Virginia possessed the ball for 17 minutes, 34 seconds in the first half, including scoring drives of 5:46 and 4:55, and also ran 27 times compared to 12 passes.
The Mountaineers pulled within a field goal on a play-action pass from Howard to Cody Clay at the 13:57 mark in the second, but Baylor responded with a touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Russell to Coleman.
That gave Coleman the single-season touchdown record and put the Bears up 10, a lead they’d maintain heading into the half after the teams traded field goals to end the half.
West Virginia had two straight chances to cut into that lead, but its final possession of the second quarter ended in a missed field goal and its opening drive of the second half ended in a punt.
The Mountaineers pulled within 34-24 on a 35-yard pass from Howard to David Sills with 7:15 remaining in the third, but Baylor responded with touchdowns of 36 and 52 yards from Russell to Jay Lee to put the game away.
Baylor later lost star defensive tackle Andrew Billings to an ankle injury, but he returned to the game for one play after X-rays on the ankle were negative, Briles said.
Afterward, the bowl-eligible Bears were more happy to have avenged a loss to West Virginia from last season, one of two to the Mountaineers since 2012.
“It was a big win against really the only Big 12 team that we don’t have a winning record against since 2011,” Briles said. “So that’s a big deal for us as a program.”