As West Virginia has racked up just four wins so far this year, their season will more than likely come to an early end at the conclusion of Friday’s game at TCU.
It’s a bittersweet contest for the Mountaineers’ 22 seniors, who will compete in their final game in the Old Gold and Blue. On one hand, today is just that — their last opportunity to run out of the tunnel with their team. On the other, their career finale conveniently comes during Thanksgiving.
“I mean it is Thanksgiving, so it does make it a little easier…it already puts you in that mindframe,” said senior linebacker Shea Campbell. “So I think we’re just gonna all cherish this week together, this is the last week as a team we’ll be together.”
Time flew by for the seniors, especially Keith Washington, who began his West Virginia career as a redshirt junior.
“It’s going to be the last week with a bunch of guys you’ve been friends with, some of the guys you met when you first got here,” he said. “So you just take them moments and cherish them, and you still want to go out there and try to get a win.”
As Washington noted, the Mountaineers still have a game to play. West Virginia will square off against TCU for the ninth time in history, with each team aiming to break the series tie at 4 games.
Gary Patterson and Neal Brown face one another for the first time as head coaches.
“His guys play the game the right way,” Brown said of Patterson’s Horned Frogs. “It’s tough to play against those guys. They play great in all three phases.”
As the Mountaineers are hoping to get their first victory in Fort Worth since 2013, here are some of the most intriguing storylines of this contest:
Building blocks vs. Bowl bids
Both teams are out of any sort of championship contention, however there is still a lot on the line for each.
TCU sits with a total of five wins, and with another, they will go bowling. This is especially important for their 21 seniors, who will get their Senior Day sendoff at Amon G. Carter Stadium at the game.
However, one start difference between the two programs is their stage in development — while Patterson has been in Fort Worth for two decades, Brown is just setting his foundations in Morgantown. With his team out of bowl eligibility for the season, it is easy to write off the season finale. But for Brown, this game is about more than wins, losses and bowls — it’s about the future.
“We’re going to be intentional about enjoying this, I think we need to finish this on a positive note,” he said. “Send our seniors out feeling good about what they’ve done….And then this is a great opportunity for us to have a building block moving forward.”
Doege vs. Duggan
The two programs’ respective signal callers are each in their first season as their teams’ starters, but each with their own circumstances.
Jarret Doege will be getting his third career start for West Virginia while utilizing a redshirt year as a junior transfer, and with a 1-1 record as a starter, he’s seen some success. He tossed for 234 yards, 3 touchdowns and a win the first time he got the nod against Kansas State, and then followed it up with a 307-yard, 1-touchdown game against Oklahoma State.
Max Duggan is also in his first season as the starter for TCU as a freshman. The Iowa native is a weapon with his legs, as he was the third-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation coming out of high school. So far, he averages 175.7 passing yards per game — but he’s also the team’s second-leading rusher with 712 yards on the season.
Where to watch
The Mountaineers kick off against the Horned Frogs at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream the matchup on the WatchESPN, and you can follow our own Anjelica Trinone and Nick Farrell on social media for updates from the stadium as the game unfolds. We will also be running our live game log right here on WVIllustrated.com providing updates and analysis on the contest.