A bye week might come just at the right time for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers just took their biggest loss of the season to Baylor on Saturday, falling 45-20 in Waco as the Bears coasted for their third win in Big 12 play. WVU has had some disappointing losses, but this was the first time in 2021 they had lost by multiple possessions — to be exact, the deficit turned out to be four scores.
“We’ve gotta solve some issues,” said WVU coach Neal Brown. “If you look at it through five games, we’ve been right there, so we haven’t been too far off — but today was a totally different story, so I think everything is on the table.”
West Virginia gets a much-needed weekend away from the gridiron after the loss, giving the team the opportunity to recover both mentally and physically. The Mountaineers say they’re banged up, a normal issue six games into a football season, and it showed in the roster.
The Mountaineers were without several players, including safety Scottie Young, who is top ten in tackles for WVU, and right tackle Wyatt Milum, who Neal Brown said was “probably 75-80 percent” but didn’t want to play the freshman in that kind of situation.
“I’m kind of beat up,” said wide receiver Winston Wright, who had 86 receiving yards against Baylor. “So this bye week is coming at a good time where everybody can just come, get their bodies back right, get their mind back fresh, and start at a new slate.”
Wright clarified that he’s not nursing a major injury — “just a little bruise” — but Dante Stills was also visibly beat up in his postgame press conference, sporting some turf burn on his elbow. That wasn’t Stills’ main concern, though — he was more concerned with the mental aspect of recovering from a big loss like the one they just suffered at Baylor.
The effects of this loss began to take their toll before halftime even started, as WVU took a multiple-touchdown deficit in the first quarter.
“That’s just a killer, but at the same time, we’ve just gotta, just, not think of that,” he said. “I feel like we just need to…if they score, we just need to move on to the next drive and not think about the last drive, because if we do that, that just causes more emotions going through our head, and it causes us to be all out of whack.”
For that reason, the Mountaineers feel this bye week is the perfect opportunity to get ready. Six games down and six games to go, WVU still has the opportunity to finish with a winning record and land a bowl game.
“This next half of the season, we need everybody to be healthy,” Stills said.