West Virginia drops third straight in double overtime thriller vs. TCU
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 08:11
It took two overtimes and a gutsy two-point conversion, but visiting TCU was able to erase a seven-point deficit with 1:28 remaining in the fourth quarter and escape Morgantown with a 39-38 victory Saturday.
On the Horned Frogs’ first play in the second overtime, sophomore wide receiver Brandon Carter took a wide receiver reverse and threw a 25-yard pass to senior tight end Corey Fuller for a touchdown, bringing the Horned Frogs within one point of West Virginia’s 37-36 lead.
Instead of kicking the extra point, TCU opted to go for the two-point conversion and on the ensuing try, redshirt freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin hit junior wide receiver Josh Boyce in the end zone to deliver the victory.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said the hostile road environment was one of the reasons he elected to go for the win and not the tie.
"I’m one of those people who believes when you play someone on the road, you have to go take ball games. If you try to just play around, you see what happens – like with the punt return," he said.
"The two-point play was the same one we used at the Boise game, where we isolate Josh (Boyce), and we’re fortunate enough we made a play."
Boyce finished the game with six catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and his most important catch came before overtime.
With less than 90 seconds left to play in regulation, Boykin eluded a near sack and connected with Boyce for a 94-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 31-31.
It was a play West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said dampened the Mountaineer defense’s improved efforts.
"It’s sad to see them get that long pass – 80 or 90 yards for a touchdown – after they played so well. That was tough to see," he said.
This loss marks the first time since 2004 West Virginia has lost three consecutive games and the first time since 2001 the Mountaineers have dropped three straight games in conference play.
"Well, the season is not over. We’ll get back to work tomorrow," Holgorsen said. "(The players) have approximately 20 hours to digest the TCU game before we move on."
Senior inside receiver Tavon Austin put West Virginia in position to win after he returned a fourth quarter punt 76 yards for a touchdown, pushing the Mountaineers in front 31-24 with 3:19 to play.
Austin led West Virginia in receiving, finishing with 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Junior wide receiver Ivan McCartney started in place of redshirt junior Stedman Bailey, who saw limited action due to what appeared to be a lower leg injury, but that didn’t stop Bailey from making one of West Virginia’s most important plays.
On the first play of the second overtime, senior quarterback Geno Smith made a 25-yard pass to Bailey for a score, giving the Mountaineers a 38-31 lead.
32 of 54 passes for 260 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the loss.
Holgorsen called Smith’s play "very average" and said he played "probably as bad as he’s been since he’s been here."
The Mountaineers’ offensive attack figured to be bolstered by senior Shawne Alston’s return. However, West Virginia could only muster 78 yards on the ground at a pedestrian 2.2 yards per rush.
TCU outgained West Virginia 405-338 in the game with Boykin throwing for 254 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the win.
The Mountaineers seemed to be in control after taking a 21-14 halftime lead, extending this to 10 points by way of a career-long 52-yard field goal from senior kicker Tyler Bitancurt at the 12:14 mark in the third quarter.
On West Virginia’s ensuing possession, however, the Horned Frogs forced a fumble, and redshirt senior defensive end Dominic Merka returned it for a touchdown.
Bitancurt would miss his next two tries and finished the game 1-of-5 on field goals. It was the fifth time ever – the first since 2006 – West Virginia tried five field goals in the same game.
After Cooper tied the game at 31-31, West Virginia drove to the
TCU 38-yard line and seemed to have a shot to win the game before overtime.
On a fourth-and-10, the Mountaineers sent Bitancurt out for a 55-yard try, but the kick missed wide left.
In overtime, Bitancurt had a second chance to finish the game – this time with a more manageable kick.
After the West Virginia defense held TCU to a missed field goal try on its first possession, the Mountaineers set up for a 36-yard try, but junior cornerback Jason Verrett got a hand on the kick, knocking it to the ground and giving the Horned Frogs the boost they needed to make it to a second overtime, and ultimately, a win.