GAME RECAP: TCU Holds off WVU Late - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

GAME RECAP: TCU Holds off WVU Late

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By Ryan Decker

Saturday’s matchup between No. 8 Texas Christian (5-0) and No. 23 West Virginia (3-2) was not only the only ranked-vs.-ranked game of the day but also featured two of the highest scoring offenses in college football.

The two offenses stayed home in the early going, and the two defenses slugged it out, limiting the offenses to a combined ten points in the first half.

Scoring picked up in the second half, but the Mountaineers came up just short, 31-24, failing to get into scoring position on its final drive due in some part to a questionable call.

West Virginia began mounting a comeback late in the third quarter.

Needing a big play to spark the offense Will Grier found his favorite target, David Sills V, past the first down marker on third down. Sills broke free of his defender and eluded the deep man running untouched 64-yards for the score.

That brought the Mountaineers back to within one possession at 17-10.

Less than three minutes later, Grier once again was on the passing end of a big play, connecting with Ka’Raun White making a double move and then running the rest of the way for the game-tying touchdown.

Grier finished the day completing 25 of 45 passes for 366 yards and three scores.

White hauled in six of those passes for 138 yards.

Trailing once again in the fourth quarter, WVU took advantage of its best field position of the day.

West Virginia orchestrated a 10-play, 49-yard drive, converting once on third down and another time on fourth. Justin Crawford eclipsed the 100-yard plateau with an eleven-yard sprint, and two plays later Sills pulled in the pass in the back of the end zone to tie things up at 24 all.

Crawford finished with a total of 111 rushing yards on 19 carries, as he was the only viable option on the ground for WVU.

The Horned Frog offense continued to score, as well.

Hill and company took nearly seven minutes off the clock on their 13-play drive on which they converted three times on third down and using a wide receiver reverse to move the chains on fourth and one.

The final play of the drive was a third down conversion; a designed run for Hill during which he shed one tackle and dove into the end zone to give the Frogs a 31-24 lead with just under three minutes to play.

Needing a score, WVU converted on fourth down with a completion to Sills and thought it was moving into TCU territory a play later when a questionable offensive pass interference call. The call stopped WVU in its tracks.

Defensively, both teams held the opposing running games largely in check, though TCU did outgain the Mountaineers by nearly thirty yards on the ground.

As a team, WVU outgained the Horned Frogs by more than one hundred yards.

TCU took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter on a leap over the offensive and defensive lines by Sewo Olonilua out of the wildcat formation. The Horned Frogs were set up in good field position prior to that when one of the TCU players was blocked into WVU return man Marcus Simms, which allowed the ball to bounce off of him and be recovered by TCU.

Special teams became a theme of the game, as Texas Christian downed WVU inside the 10-yard line multiple times early on, and Mike Molina missed a chip shot field goal in the second quarter.

West Virginia, offensively, was able to move the ball against TCU, gaining over 100 more yards in the first half, but wasn’t able to find the end zone.

Much of those yards were gained through the air, as after the Mountaineers opening drive of the game the Horned Frogs contained the WVU rushing attack.

Saturday also marked the first time since Oct. 1, 2016, that Holgorsen’s offense failed to score a touchdown in the first half.

West Virginia that was continuously looking for the big play to spark the offense, but it was TCU that got it.

Grier’s intended for Simms was intercepted and returned the other way 34 yards by Nick Orr. On the ensuing play, Kenny Hill found Jalen Reagor deep down the sideline for a 45-yard strike that gave the Horned Frogs a 17-3 lead and flipped momentum.

With the loss, the Mountaineers streak of being unable to win against AP Top-10 teams on the road continues, having not been done since 1982. 

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