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Mountaineers Fall Short at Texas Christian

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West Virginia quarterback Will Grier throws for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns yet again, but it’s still not enough to hand the Horned Frogs its first loss of the season. Ironically, this game had the same feeling as the Virginia Tech loss – and coincidently – the same final score of 31-24.

The Mountaineers would never find the end zone in the first half despite their numerous opportunities.

On the first drive of the game, West Virginia would start from their own 3-yard line and drive the ball down to the Texas Christian 15-yard line.  The drive would stall from there after a holding call on first-and-10 from the 15 and the Mountaineers would have to settle for a field goal, getting on the board first 3-0.

The defense played well the entire game, limiting the Horned Frogs to only 7 points in the first half.  After forcing Texas Christian to punt on its first three drives, West Virginia would waste what would have been its best field position of the half muffing a punt at the 21-yard line. Defensive back Jovanni Stewart blocked a would-be tackler into returner Marcus Simms, causing the football to bounce off his arm and into the hands of a Horned Frogs player. Texas Christian would take a 7-3 lead just 7 plays later on a 2-yard touchdown run by Sewo Olonilua.

On the ensuing drive for the Mountaineers, they would drive down the field yet again and the drive would stall for the second time inside the redzone after quarterback Will Grier overthrew an open David Sills on third-and-3. Mike Molina would go on to miss a 29-yard chip-shot field goal.

The Horned Frogs punter did a great job in the first half, pinning West Virginia deep in their own territory and forcing the Mountaineers to drive the length of the field on its first five possessions. The Mountaineers would start at their own 3, 5, 25, 1 and 6-yard line.

With three critical mistakes and a defense benefiting from the return of stud linebacker David Long, West Virginia would only trail 7-3 going into halftime.

The second half was a slow start to say the least for West Virginia.

West Virginia’s opening drive of the 2nd half would only last 5 plays for 28 yards, punting the ball over to TCU.

TCU would start to find holes in the Mountaineer defense. On its first drive of the 2nd half, the Horned Frogs drove the ball 59 yards in 9 plays highlighted by a 27-yard run by Kyle Hicks. The defense would hold however, only allowing a field goal to put TCU up 10-3.

TCU looked like they would start to run away with the game after an errant pass by Will Grier over the middle trying to find Marcus Simms was intercepted by safety Nick Orr.

Kenny Hill would make them pay immediately on the first play after the interception with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Reagor and TCU would take a 17-3 lead with 6:06 left in the 3rd quarter.

The next series, Will Grier would find David Sills for a 64-yard touchdown pass, narrowing the deficit to 17-10 with a little over two minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.

The defense would hold TCU, giving the ball back to the Mountaineers. And in only two plays, West Virginia would tie the game up at 17 with a 74-yard touchdown pass from Grier to Ka’Raun White.

The Horned Frogs would reach in to their bag of tricks to score on a pass play from running back Kyle Hicks to quarterback Kenny hill for 48 yards.  Hill would hand the ball off to Hicks before sliding to the left. Hicks would stop and throw the ball to the opposite side of the field to wide open Hill and behind an entourage of blockers, Hill would score to put the Frogs up 24-17.

After trading punts and the Mountaineers getting good field position after pinning TCU back at their own 13-yard line, West Virginia would start at the TCU 49-yard line and cap off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Grier to Sills for their second of the day, tying the game up at 24.

Now, this is where it got a bit interesting.

To start, Mike Molina would kick the ball off out of bounds, giving TCU great field position to start the drive at the 35-yard line.

TCU would start to drive down the field and on a deep ball at about the 2-yard line, Elijah Battle would make an interception and was called and interception on the field.  After a review they would reverse the call. If you paused the replay when Elijah would gain control of the ball, it looked like he made the catch just before his right foot would hit out of bounds. Regardless, TCU kept possession and took full advantage.

West Virginia had their chances to get off the field after the call.  TCU had a fourth- and-1 at the WVU 41 and gave up a 7-yard run and on a third-and-7 gave up a 23-yard pass, taking TCU down to the West Virginia 8-yard line.

Kenny Hill capped off the controversial drive with a 3- yard touchdown run to give them a 31-24 lead.

The Mountaineers would have a chance to tie the game starting from their own 25-yard line with 2:53 left in the game.

After converting a 4th and 5 West Virginia would complete a big pass play and a late flag would nullify the big gain through the air.  The officials would call an offensive pass interference call and under further review, it wasn’t even close.  The call was so bad the announcers even had to chime in to say just how bad it was.  If anything, it was a defensive pass interference as the TCU defender had a hand full of David Sills’ Jersey.

It would set up a 1st and 25 and West Virginia would never recover, turning the ball over on downs just four plays later.

The 2 turnovers led to 14 points that didn’t do West Virginia any favors and the field position in the first half was horrendous.

“Two turnovers and field position was the difference in the game” agreed Holgorsen after the game.

Dana knows there were mistakes beyond his control in this game, but he will carry the burden. “There’s 3 sides and there’s blame to go around and I didn’t do a great job special teams wise,” he added.

When Dana was asked about the officials, he candidly replied, “I won’t talk about the officials ever, I would like to but I don’t want to.”

The mistakes and the two tough calls at the end of the game makes this game a bitter pill to swallow.

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