WVU vs. TCU Game Recap - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU vs. TCU Game Recap

Michael Ploger, MORGANTOWN -

A two-point conversion in overtime by TCU makes the difference at Milan Puskar Stadium as the Mountaineers fall by a score of 39-38.

This is the first time since the 2004 season that the Mountaineers have lost three straight games.

"It falls on me," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.  "What we've done the last three games offensively is totally unacceptable."

Sixty minutes wasn't enough to determine a winner in this one.  Two overtimes and a gutsy call by TCU head coach Gary Patterson put the Horned Frogs on top.

The second half of the game is where all the action came from in this one.  TCU tied the game at 24 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and then it became a defensive battle.

Isaiah Bruce intercepted a pass from Trevone Boykin when the Horned Frogs were in the red zone.  A play that, at the time, seemed to be a game-changer.

Then with four minutes remaining, Josh Francis and Shaq Petteway shared a sack on a third down that forced TCU to punt.  Madness then ensued in Morgantown.

Tavon Austin fielded the punt and weaved his way between defenders for a 76-yard punt return for a score.  A play that ignited the crowd and sent the entire Mountaineers bench roaring down the sidelines after Austin.

That was Austin's first punt return touchdown of his career.

TCU would get the ball back two more times on offense despite just 3:19 remaining.  And on the second play of their second drive, Boykin found Josh Boyce wide open down the field for a 94-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

After WVU drove to the TCU 37-yard line, Bitancurt set up for a 55-yard field goal with less than 20 seconds remaining.  His kick sailed wide left, sending the game into overtime.

TCU would receive the ball first on the 25 yard line.  The defense of WVU was able to force a field goal try, where Jaden Oberkrom missed the 36-yard try.

It was then WVU's turn, and all they needed was three points.  Two completions to Copeland, and an incomplete pass set up Bitancurt for a game-winning try from 36 yards away.  However, his kick was blocked by Jason Verrett.

For the second overtime period, WVU took control of the ball first.  On the first play, Stedman Bailey ran a double move route to the end zone where Geno Smith found him for a touchdown.

Again, it was time for the Horned Frogs to respond.  And they did on their first play.  A double-reverse pass to Corey Fuller gave them six points.  However, this time there was a two-point conversion try.

Boykin rolled right and found Boyce one-on-one against Pat Miller.  On a low thrown ball, Boyce was able to haul in the catch for the game winner.  Game over.

"I'm one of those people who beliees when you play someone on the road, you have to go take ball games," said TCU head coach Gary Patterson.

Geno Smith finished 32-54 with 260 yards passing and three touchdowns.  He added 28 rushing yards on 10 carries.  He ran with the ball the most in today's game than at any point this season.

Tavon Austin led all skill players with 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.  The punt return touchdown was the fifth special teams touchdown in his career.

The Mountaineers had just 78 yards rushing on 35 attempts (2.2 ypc) in the game.  Andrew Buie ran the most with 40 yards on ten carries.

Both Shawne Alston and Stedman Bailey returned after dealing with injuries.  It was Alston's first action since the game against James Madison on September 15.

Despite the loss, Holgorsen was proud of his defense.  It was visibly clear the unit had grown over the bye week.

"I thought they played good," said Holgorsen.  "They responded to all the criticism and scrutiny that they've been under.  They practiced hard for two weeks and got better."

Cecil Level and Ishmael Banks earned starting spots for the first time in their careers.  Level finished with five tackles and a forced fumble, while Banks had four tackles of his own.

"Well, the season is not over," said Horgorsen.  "We'll get back to work tomorrow.  They've got approximately 20 hours to digest the TCU game before we move on."

WVU is still searching to become bowl eligible as they need six wins to secure a spot.

The Mountaineers are now 5-3 (2-3 in the Big 12) and TCU climbs to 6-3 (3-3) on the season.  Next week the Mountaineers travel to Oklahoma State while TCU plays Kansas State.

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