The Horned Frogs came to Morgantown on a miserably cold Saturday in November. Marked with ice blue skies, four A-10’s streaked across the sky as a Veteran’s Day Tribute. Fans were dawned in their best blue and gold hats, scarves and mittens, ready for the Big 12 conference match up.
The Mountaineers had just returned from a monumental win in Austin the weekend before. Coming off such an emotional road win, staying focused on the task at hand posed a significant challenge for the Mountaineers.
Head Coach, Gary Patterson, has been at the helm of the TCU Horned Frogs for 18 years. During his tenure, his teams have been described as gritty and exceptionally well coached. Coach Patterson had his TCU team ready at kickoff, looking for another road upset to add to their collection.
The West Virginia offense failed to get going early in the game. With 8:08 left in half, Coach Holgerson made a call to try and jump start his offense. He went for it on 4th and 1, on the TCU 39 yard line. Martell Pettaway took the hand-off and rode a wave of blockers for the first down. Seeking to create momentum, Coach Spavital called a deep route for David Sills. Everything went as planned, a perfectly thrown ball to an open receiver, but Sills dropped the easy touchdown. Immediately afterwards, TJ Simmons failed to secure a pass, which then lead to an interception. The turnover, dropped passes and missed blocks led to three punts by the Mountaineers early in the first half. This was the same offense that only punted twice against the Longhorns, last week in Austin.
The game was tied at three a piece with just under seven minutes left in the half. The TCU defense had been a step ahead of West Virginia since kickoff. Things appeared to be going exactly as planned for the Horned Frogs. With just under seven minutes remaining in the half, Will Grier seized forward. Seeking momentum, he put together a methodical 76 yard drive. It was capped off when Kennedy McKoy burst through multiple defenders for a 33 yard touchdown. Immediately afterwards, the Horned Frogs muffed a kickoff, that seemed to take an odd bounce. Exree Loe, would recover the kick, leading to a Martell Pettaway rushing touchdown. The offense continued their late surge, as Trevon Wesco, a West Virginia native, took a wheel route 32 yards for a touchdown. This offensive explosion put West Virginia ahead 24-3, at the half.
It was an impressive turnaround, against a TCU defense that ranks in the top third of the conference, in almost every category.
The defense allowed a 70 yard drive on TCU’s first possession, resulting in a field goal. Following that initial, porous drive, the defense held the Horned Frogs to 38 total yards the rest of the half. TCU’s only other score came on a short field following a muffed punt. After giving up 520 yards and 41 points last week in Austin, Tony Gibson’s defense bounced back by holding their offense to 222 total yards and ten points.
The constant pressure applied by the Mountaineers wore down the TCU offense, leading to four sacks and a safety. Additionally, the Horned Frogs, who average 153 yards per game rushing, were held to negative seven.
Will Grier finished the day 25 of 39 for 343 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Tight end, Trevon Wesco, led the team with 89 yards receiving and a touchdown. On the ground, the Mountaineers split carries fairly evenly. The team rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
West Virginia will next face off against Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Mountaineers have lost three years in a row to the Cowboys. Coach Holgerson and the team will be looking to take back the series, when they face off in Stillwater.