Leddie Brown was questionable coming into Saturday’s matchup for West Virginia, but he certainly didn’t look dinged up, running by, through, and over the Horned Frogs on his way to breaking the century mark on the ground.
The Frogs started slow and never really got going, picking up just 100 yards in the first half and not making it into the end zone despite ** possessions in the red zone. It wasn’t much different for the defense, as the folded like a wet paper towel on WVU’s opening drive — one that started at their own one yard line and went 99 yards to pay dirt. Behind Brown and Jarret Doege — who quite possibly played the best game of his Mountaineer career — WVU sliced and diced the normally-reliably stout TCU defense like a hot knife through butter, not putting up a ton of points but getting anything and everything they needed.
The Frogs answered the Eers 99 yard touchdown drive with a 32 yard Griffin Kell field goal; TCU had the ball with a first down at the 14 but managed just one yard on three plays and settled for three. West Virginia went right back down the field and put another seven on the board, bolstered by a 30 yard Brown run and a 26 yard connection from Doege to TJ Simmons to make it 14-3.
The teams traded three and outs on their ensuing drives, and with the second quarter winding down, the Frogs picked up just 15 yards on five plays to give it back to WVU. Another long drive didn’t end in points, but took 5:22 off of the clock, and predictably, TCU went ahead and ran out the clock despite having 1:20 to play and all three timeouts.
Also of note before the half, TCU safety Ar’Darius Washington took a helmet to the knee on a tackle, whipping his head back dangerously. After being down on the turf for several minutes, Washington was thankfully able to walk under his own power, but would not return to the game. Patterson said post game that they would not have an update on his status going forward for several days. It was a horrifying hit, and reaction.
According to TCU sideline reporter Landry Burdine, the locker room was chippy at halftime; players were upset that, in their opinion, WVU was disrespecting them and wanted to fight back. Patterson’s message: “you can fight back, but it better not be after the whistle”.
The defense seemed to listen, the offense?
WVU added three points after the break, stalling in the red zone thanks to three straight negative plays — Terrell Cooper stopped Alec Sinkfield in the backfield, Parker Workman sacked Doege back at the 16, and Khari Coleman stoned Leddie Brown for a loss of two. Sitting at 17-3, the Frogs desperately needed a score, and they got one, but it was of the most disappointing variety.
I love Max Duggan. I love him as a leader, as a runner, as a dual threat QB. But he made quite possibly the worst play of his career Saturday, and while it didn’t cost the Frogs a win, it cost them an opportunity to get one.
Duggan opened the drive with a 13 yard completion to Barber, and picked up 15 on a nice run on second and long. Kendre Miller picked up 30 yards over two rushing attempts, and then, as we’ve come to know: things stalled in the end zone.
But on third and goal from the 14, Barber broke free and was wide open in the end zone. And when I say wide open, I mean WIDE ASS OPEN. Somehow, Duggan completely missed him, sailing the ball high and giving his receiver no shot to make a play.
It was utterly devastating.
Many have felt that Duggan might be injured, but Patterson was quick to bury that thought, instead putting it on his competitive nature. “He’s pressing too much, he’s got to calm down.” Patterson also mentioned that many of his throws were high and off target due to having defensive linemen in his face all game.
Trailing 14-6, the defense got a quick stop, but the Frogs couldn’t even get into West Virginia territory, punting from their own 45. With the fourth quarter upon them, the defense stepped up again, but the stop was null when Trevon Moehrig, returning punts with Derius Davis out sick, fumbled the ball, giving it right back to the Mountaineers. Doege took advantage, finding Simmons for a 38 yard scoring strike.
TCU had one final opportunity to make a dent, but Duggan was intercepted by Tykee Smith with 3:21 to play, all but formally ending the ball game. The final score would remain 24-6.
On the day, the Mountaineers converted 8-15 third downs, after starting 6-7. They out gained the Frogs 392-295, with Doege accounting for 212 yards and two touchdowns through the air, plus one of the ground. Leddie Brown had a huge day with 156 yards on 24 attempts, averaging 6.5 per carry with a long of 34. Duggan completed 16-29 passes for just 154 yards, and the Frogs were led by Kendre Miller’s 58 yards on the ground. After his massive game against Texas Tech, Duggan picked up just 19 yards on the ground in Morgantown. Zach Evans and Darwin Barlow combined for just seven touches, which TCU fans should find deeply offensive. Emari Demercado was the Frogs’ leading receiver, with four catched for 66 yards, 52 coming on one reception.
A ton of credit should go to West Virginia’s defense, who played well once again. But as Patterson said post game, “the bottom line is, you drop a couple passes, you can’t put yourself behind the chains, you have to score in the red zone. Have to be able to take ball games, can’t be okay with field goals.”
As far as what’s next, the Frogs have a bye week before traveling to Lawrence, their last road game of the year. Junior safety Trevon Moehrig knows his team needs to regroup. “That bye week is going to give us some time to regroup, get our heads straight, figure out what we have to do against Kansas to win. It sucks having a bye week after a loss like this, but guys will come out hungry.”