TCU Outlasts West Virginia In Thriller
FORT WORTH, Texas – TCU quarterback Kenny Hill capped a lengthy touchdown drive with a scoring run on third and goal from the three and West Virginia failed to answer in a back and forth game that saw the No. 8 Horned Frogs outlast the No. 23 Mountaineers 31-24 here Saturday.
WVU (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) had a chance for its first Top 25 win since 2012 versus Texas, but not could complete another rally after David Sills late pass interference put the offense behind the sticks and the Mountaineers couldn’t convert a fourth and 18.
Since WVU’s win at No. 11 Texas in 2012, the Mountaineers are 2-16 versus ranked foes. It has lost eight nine in a row under Dana Holgorsen. Seven of those losses have come while West Virginia was also ranked.
The teams jostled throughout the game, with TCU (5-0, 2-0) taking advantage of WVU turnovers to build a 17-3 lead late in the third quarter. The Horned Frogs had all the momentum on their side after Marcus Sims got tangled in a rub route and Grier threw down the middle to where Sims should have broken. The ball carried to TCU safety Nick Orr, who returned the miscue 34 yards to the WVU 45-yard line.
Kenny Hill hit Jalen Reagor for a long touchdown pass one play later, and Texas Christian had a 17-3 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter. West Virginia answered on the next series however, as Grier found Sills down the seam for a 64-yard touchdown that again made it a one possession game at 17-10 with 3:52 to play in the third quarter.
WVU then tied it a possession later when Grier found White beyond the corner and hit him in stride for a 76-yard scoring pass. It was 17-17 at that point with 1:37 left before the fourth quarter, and one assumed the teams would remain tied in the last period. But TCU took just 1:22 to regain the lead, with the key play coming when the Frogs ran a flip to KaVontae Turpin, who then threw back to a wide open Hill, who ran 48 yards for a touchdown and a 24-17 lead.
The Mountaineers answered with a 10-play, 49-yard drive capped by Grier’s four-yard scoring pass to Sills to tie it at 24-24 and set-up the final 9:50.
West Virginia trailed 7-3 at the break. The Mountaineers racked up 236 yards on 44 plays, but had an incredibly long field the entire half, with an average starting field position of the 13 yard line. TCU’s punter pinned four inside the seven yard line, while WVU had one punt hit a blocker, which ultimately resulted in a turnover when the Horned Frogs jumped on the live ball.
That came early in the second quarter, and Texas Christian capitalized, moving 33 yards in seven plays as running back Sewo Olonilua plunged in from two yards out. That gave TCU a 7-3 lead after West Virginia took an initial 3-0 advantage on Mike Molina’s 37-yard field goal midway through the first quarter after a 14-play, 77-yard drive.
It was the longest scoring drive of the season that failed to result in a touchdown for the Mountaineers, and the first time in 16 scoring drives that WVU didn’t produce a touchdown. The half marked the first time in 13 games dating to the first half of Kansas State last season in which WVU failed to score a touchdown in a half.