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TCU 41, West Virginia 31: Country Road Win

The Frogs outlast WVU to earn tough away win and remain unbeaten.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at West Virginia
Kendre Miller and the Horned Frogs ran past the Mountaineers in Morgantown on Saturday
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Eight and Oh! Alright, here’s the situation: the TCU Horned Frogs defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 41-31 on Saturday to remain unbeaten through eight games. It’s the first TCU win over WVU since 2017 and the first in Morgantown since Jaden Oberkrom’s walkoff winner in 2014. The Horned Frogs are 8-0 for the first time since 2015 and Sonny Dykes became the first head coach in Big 12 history to begin 8-0 in their first season in the conference.

Horned Frog Quarterback Max Duggan again shined, going 16-28 for 341 yards and 3 TDs giving him 2,212 yards and 22 TDs on the season, with on two interceptions. Kendre Miller also continued his superstar play, amassing 120 yards on just 12 carries while adding another TD to his tally. Miller is now up to 851 yards and 11 TDs on the season; Miller has now scored a touchdown in every game this season. The entire Wide Receiver went wild in Morgantown, as Taye Barber, Savion Williams, Quentin Johnston, and Derius Davis each put up 60+ yards and the first three securing TDs.

While the offense was excellent, the defense stepped up in the key moments. Dylan Horton got to WVU QB JT Daniels for 2 sacks, with another sack added by Jamoi Hodge. Tre’Virus Hodges Tomlinson was a force of nature, with a key forced fumble and with great coverage to force a late turnover on downs. Bud Clark got his third interception in as many games to seal the win on the last play of the game.

The Horned Frogs have gotten out to slow starts often this season and it looked like this one could have trended in that direction on Saturday as the TCU offense stalled due to a big sack to fall out of field goal range, while WVU quickly drove down the field for a CJ Donaldson TD. Donaldson was very impressive throughout the game, ultimately rushing for 104 yards and 2 TDs, much of which coming in the first half. TCU bounced right back from the early deficit, as Max Duggan hit Taye Barber right in stride for a 71-yard score

The teams would again exchange touchdowns on the following drives, with CJ Donaldson again bowling in from a yard out with the Frogs answering right back as Max Duggan hit a suddenly wide open Quentin Johnston, who had been hobbled with injury during this game but brought this to the endzone for the 55-yard score, his 4th straight game with a TD.

TCU’s Defense got its first stop of the day in the 2nd Quarter, as a long WVU drive was cut short when Tomlinson got to JT Daniels on the corner blitz just as he was cocking back to release a pass; THT knocked the ball out, recovered by Lwal Uguak and returned to midfield. The very next play the TCU O-Line created a lane, Kendre Miller found it, and blasted off for a 51-yard TD run.

The Mountaineers bounced back with a 15-play 89-yard drive with three 3rd-down conversion, culminating with a 4th-down TD pass to Justin Johnson. The Frogs took over with just over a minute to play before half, but were not content to go into halftime tied, as passes to Barber and Davis moved the ball to the 30 yard line and Emani Bailey took it the rest of the way. The play design and blocking execution by WRs and the O-Line was superb to give Bailey the space to put the Frogs ahead at half.

The Defenses showed up in the 2nd half, although the Frogs were unable to put together a 2nd half shut out like the last two weeks. The Frogs did open the half by forcing a 3-and-out, but the ensuing punt resulted in a rough moment for the officiating crew. Derius Davis called for the fair catch, with a Mountaineer defender inches from his face and another WVU player throws a TCU blocker into said defender who wipes out everyone in his path, including Davis, resulting in a fumble. The TCU Defense again held strong, as WVU could only get a FG from the excellent field position.

Griffin Kell would add two 4th Quarter field goals, of 30 and 46 yards. The 30 yarder came after a disappointing sequence that started with TCU at first and goal from the 1 yard line after an Emari Demercado run; after 3 negative plays, TCU settled for the 3 points.

West Virginia responded to the goal line stand with a 12-play 78-yard drive, aided by two costly pass interference calls, that drained 5 minutes of clock and cut the TCU lead to 3 on a 23-yard strike over the middle to Reese Smith.

Things got dicey for the Frogs despite recovering the onside kick with good field position and a chance to put away the game. Unable to burn any clock due to incompletions, then Max Duggan throws his 2nd interception of the season, giving the Mountaineers the ball at their own 16 yard line with a chance to tie or take the lead. Instead WVU ran for a loss of three, had two incompletions before deciding to punt with under 3 minutes to play and 3 timeouts.

The Frogs went to work trying to bleed the final minutes of game clock as Max Duggan ran for 5 yards on 3rd and 3 for the crucial first down, but with over a minute remaining TCU would need another to clinch the victory. WVU called its final timeout with 26 seconds remaining and the Frogs facing 4th and 1. The Horned Frog offense remained on the field, Max Duggan got a Mountaineer defender to jump offsides, which would’ve ended it there Instead Duggan received the snap and tossed the fade up to Savion Williams who went up with great strength and body control to come down with the ball in the endzone. WVU was unlikely to score 10 points in 20 seconds, but the game was closed for good with a Bud Clark interception.

West Virginia falls to 3-5 on the season, and 1-4 in the Big 12. The Mountaineers will next head to Ames to take on Iowa State in a battle to avoid the conference cellar.

TCU improves to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs return to Fort Worth next week to take on Texas Tech.