West Virginia QB Greene's 4th TD is a 29-yard pass in final minute for a 34-31 win at Baylor
WACO, Texas (AP) — Garrett Greene threw for 269 yards with two touchdowns, including the game-winning 29-yard score to running back Jahiem White wide open down the left sideline with 23 seconds left, as West Virginia beat Baylor 34-31 on Saturday night.
The Mountaineers (8-4, 6-3 Big 12 Conference) were out of timeouts when they took over at their own 20-yard line after Isaiah Hankins missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 1:14 left for Baylor (4-8, 3-6). They went 80 yards in six plays over 51 seconds, starting with completions of 11 and 23 yards to Hudson Clement.
“Garrett’s really good in the two-minute drill,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “We scored two touchdowns tonight (after taking over) with less than a minute and a half and zero timeouts. He’s good with his ability to run and get the ball down the field vertically.”
Richard Reese returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the first half for Baylor, which then scored 17 consecutive points in the second half to take a 31-27 lead before the missed field goal.
The Bears lost their final five games and have dropped 13 of 16 overall. They finished 1-7 at home, with the only victory while playing a school-record eight home games coming against FCS member Long Island University on Sept. 16.
Greene also ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, the second a 1-yard score 15 seconds before halftime to cap a 74-yard, seven-play drive that gave the Mountaineers a 27-14 lead. White led them with 133 yards rushing on 17 carries.
With Baylor starting quarterback Blake Shapen out because of a concussion, Sawyer Robertson completed his first 10 passes and finished 17-of-19 for 219 yards with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Ketron Jackson Jr. early in the second half.
Reese’s kickoff returns of 96 and 93 yards came in a span of 3:39 in the second quarter. The Mountaineers outgained Baylor 365 total yards to 86 before halftime.
“I thought in the third quarter and second half we were able to settle down,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “It was good to see defensively guys have fun and get on the hunt there for a little bit, but it was disappointing at the end of it.”
TWICE TO THE HOUSE
It was the first time a Baylor player returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns. The Bears hadn’t had one since Trestan Ebner’s 98-yarder against Iowa State on Sept 25, 2021, a year after his two returns for scores against Kansas — a 100-yard kickoff return and an 83-yard score off the free kick after a safety.
“There had been so much focus and effort into the kickoff return,” Aranda said. “To end tonight with Richard and his runs, and the guys and their blocks, it’s just really cool to see.”
A DIFFERENT FEELING
The home team had won the last five games in the series before Saturday, and Brown took a moment to reflect on his first win in Waco.
“This is the third time I’ve been in this press area, and this is by far the best feeling I’ve had,” Brown said. “I thought we had a chance here four years ago (a 17-14 loss) and got worn out pretty good in 2021 (45-20).”
Those Baylor teams were a combined 23-5 and reached the Big 12 championship game in 2019 before winning it in 2021.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers offense was shut down for most of the second half, punting on their first three possessions before being stopped on the fourth. But the Mountaineers came through with their final drive.
Baylor: It would have been easy for the Bears to roll over, with rumors swirling about Aranda’s job status (23-25 record over four seasons), no hope for a bowl game and playing in front of a sparse crowd on a rainy night. They continued to fight, but things such as blown coverages that have plagued them all season cost them one more time.
Baylor’s season is over.
West Virginia waits to find out its bowl destination.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football