MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There's good news and bad regarding the Baylor defense that West Virginia faces Saturday night in Waco, Texas.
The good news is it's essentially the same group of players playing in the same scheme as a year ago when the Mountaineers scored 10 touchdowns.
The bad news is it's essentially the same group of players playing in the same scheme as a year ago when the Mountaineers scored 10 touchdowns.
No, that's not leading into a riddle of some sort. It's a plus and it's a minus all in one.
The plus, of course, is that West Virginia has proven it knows how to attack the Bears. Even if Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin aren't around anymore, at least the formula doesn't change much.
The minus? Well, Baylor's defenders are nearly unanimously more experienced and better suited to execute that defense.
That would be the defense that surrendered 10 touchdowns and 807 yards in a 70-63 loss to WVU in Morgantown.
"You look at how Baylor played from that game on,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "They got better and better defensively as the year went on, and they got a lot of experience. It's pretty much all the same guys coming back.
"It's all those guys that bought into what [defensive coordinator Phil] Bennett was teaching them and the philosophy. They didn't change a whole lot. They just kept getting good at what they were doing, and now they're doing the same stuff with the same people and they're just a lot better at it.''
Indeed, Baylor is much better on defense - light years, in fact. Granted, the competition the Bears have faced during a 3-0 start is not high shelf (Wofford, Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe), but BU ranks second in the country in scoring defense and has scored - get this - more touchdowns on defense (four) than it has allowed (three).