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West Virginia 20, TCU 17: No bowling for the Frogs

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TCU will miss a bowl game for just the third time in the Gary Patterson era.

Max Duggan lies on the field after his fourth and long pass attempt fell incomplete, signaling the end of TCU Football’s comeback bid over WVU, and thus, the end of their season.
Melissa Triebwasser

Fort Worth, Texas - TCU’s season is officially over after a 20-17 loss to West Virginia on Friday, to finish at 5-7. For just the third time in the Patterson era (2004, 2013) the Frogs will not participate in a bowl.

The final game of the season somewhat defined the entire season: inconsistent and mostly bad offensive play, a defense that did everything it could, but gave up just enough big plays, and fans left with major questions about what the coaching staff under Gary Patterson will look like in 2020.

TCU struggled out of the gate, with a Max Duggan pass going through Jalen Reagor’s hands into the waiting arms of Tykee Smith, who returned it down to the TCU 14 yard line. The Mountaineers scored four plays later to take a 7-0 lead.

The Frogs didn’t score until their third drive of the game, when a jet sweep run by Taye Barber went 64 yards to set the Frogs up in West Virginia’s red zone. Three running plays later and Sewo Olonilua took the direct snap in for he 18th touchdown of his career to tie things up at seven.

Neither team got much more going on offense for the remainder of the half, with field goals accenting questionable play calling and decent defense in the cold, wet weather.

With the teams taking a 10-10 tie into the half, things were very much still up in the air.

A field goal was all West Virginia could muster for most of the second half, while TCU had to rely on a 70-yard punt return touchdown from Jalen Reagor for their scoring.

With the Frogs up 17-13 and 4:47 left in the game, West Virginia took over on their own 39. TCU got them to 4th down and 1, but a pass interference call on Jeff Gladney kept the drive alive.

Just moments later, on 3rd and 12, a roughing the passer/targeting call on Ross Blacklock kept West Virginia on the field once again. Blacklock was ejected upon review of the targeting call, for what was probably his last play in a TCU uniform.

Every TCU fan seemingly understood how things would end after that. Two plays later Jarrett Doege hit Isaiah Edsale with a 35-yard touchdown pass that gave the Mountaineers a 20-17 lead with 2:10 remaining in the game.

We all wanted magic in those last two minutes, but we were given more of the same. TCU’s offensive line struggled against West Virginia’s four-man front, like they had all night, Duggan’s throws were just a bit off, and we were all left wondering where the Duggan to Reagor connection, which made two appearances on the final drive, had been all night, and all season.

On 4th and 15, Duggan was met with pressure, but he delivered a ball down the sideline to Al’Dontre Davis, who had it in his hands before dropping it as he went to the ground.

Poetically speaking it was the perfect ending to a season that left TCU fans frustrated and wanting more.

Realistically speaking it was likely also the end of the Jalen Reagor, Ross Blacklock, and Sonny Cumbie eras at TCU.

Meanwhile, an emotional Gary Patterson spoke and answered questions for just six minutes after the loss. No players were made available.

TCU fans carry a lot of questions into this longer-than-normal offseason, with an unfamiliar waiting game ahead.

We’ll get answers to most of our questions at some point. But for now, there are 278 days until TCU plays football again.

Check out Patterson’s full postgame press conference below: