In a game that had tons of hype going in, WVU found themselves in a back and forth battle all night long with Houston. The weirdness that often occurs in Thursday night games was evident all night.
After stopping the Houston offense on their opening possession, it was time for Garrett Greene and company to get to work. But even though West Virginia was able to move the ball on the Cougars, the Mountaineers had to settle for a field goal.
Down only 3-0, Houston would score the first touchdown of the day without their offense even having to take the field. Matthew Golden ran a kickoff all the way into the end zone, handing Houston a 7-3 lead.
The pressure would then be back on West Virginia to answer. A 31-yard catch by Preston Fox would get the Mountaineers going right away on the drive. CJ Donaldson, who had back-to-back rough games entering Thursday night, then powered WVU in for a score of their own thanks to a monster block by Greene. West Virginia would reclaim the edge on the scoreboard, 10-7.
Former WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen continued his clear plan to put a banged up secondary to the test, but it never really worked.
Both defenses traded off key stops in the final minutes of the half and a holding call another Houston touchdown return off the board. The Cougars would eventually earn that touchdown to cap off an 56-yard drive and taking a 14-10 lead over West Virginia into the locker room.
All of the angst from WVU fans about failing to convert explosive plays was let out when a trick play of sorts gave WVU back the lead. Traylon Ray made the reception and put the Mountaineers up 17-14.
The momentum would stay with West Virginia a few minutes later when a play was called dead before a Donaldson fumble. Football karma would get Houston their turnover when Jaylen Anderson bobbled what would’ve been a touchdown.
Houston running back Stacy Sneed exploded for a 58-yard run on the ensuing possession that would then set up the Cougars’ first offensive touchdown, moving the score back in favor of Holgorsen’s team at 21-17.
From that point on, the shootout was on throughout the rest of the game. Houston responded to a WVU touchdown with one of their own and the Cougars led 28-24 with just over 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter. That lead would increase to 35-24 about five minutes later.
Greene would show poise and get the Mountaineers into the end zone with his legs and then convert a critical two-point conversion, making the score 35-32 with just under four minutes remaining.
A pass interference call against West Virginia allowed Houston to control the clock, but not long enough to avoid WVU getting a shot with the ball.
What happened next was wild. West Virginia native Hudson Clement caught what looked to be the game winning touchdown, but just as WVU fans thought they stole a win, a successful Hail Mary flipped the victory to the Cougars once and for all.
Dana Holgorsen got the win against his old team and WVU dropped down to 4-2 with the loss.
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