MORGANTOWN - About the only individuals that expected the shootout that occurred at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday were the coaches and players from No. 9 WVU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) and No. 25 Baylor (3-1, 0-1 Big 12).
"We expect to score that many (points) a game," said Bears' senior quarterback Nick Florence. "Unfortunately, we came up a little short."
It wasn't from trying, however.
Florence not only tossed five touchdown passes, two going to Terrance Williams, but broke Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III's single-game passing record with his 581-yard performance on 29-of-47 passing.
"We knew we could exploit them (the Mountaineer secondary)," continued the quarterback. "They played kind of soft. There were holes and we tried to exploit them."
Of course, the same could be said for the Baylor pass defense as WVU's Geno Smith had a historic day in front of the 60,000 fans that packed Mountaineer Field.
In his first appearance against a Big 12 opponent, the Florida native wasn't perfect, but he was very, very close. After missing on his first attempt of the game to Andrew Buie, Smith put together streaks of 14 straight (a school record) and 12 straight completions and finished the first 30 minutes of action connecting on all but two of his 28 attempts for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
But, that was just the beginning as the three-year starter finished the game with school-records of 656 yards, 45 completions (out of 51 attempts) and eight touchdowns.
"They (WVU) have the same type of athletes as we do," said junior linebacker Eddie Lackey, who recorded the only sack surrendered by the Mountaineers' front line. "He (Smith) threw the ball on the money and whenever we made a mistake, he made us pay for it."
Words that could just as easily describe the ineffectiveness of West Virginia's defense.
"That's the name of the game," continued Florence. "They made more plays than we did. All I wanted to do is win the game."
West Virginia's next opponent, the University of Texas, opened its Big 12 slate of games with a road win over Oklahoma State and is surrendering nearly 100 yards of total offense (390.2) less than West Virginia (474.0) and is second only to TCU in interceptions with seven picks on the year.
The Longhorns, WVU and Kansas also sit atop the conference standings in turnover margin with a plus-6 number after four games.
"Not every game is going to be like this," said Baylor head coach Art Briles. "I thought West Virginia did a good job of protecting the football.
"And, I thought Geno (Smith) was exceptional. He surely didn't hurt his chances for post season awards with that performance."