Updated 6:54 p.m. ET: West Virginia’s defense was playing much better on Saturday than it had the entire first half of the season. Up 31-24 on TCU with just three minutes left in the game, the Mountaineers needed one more stop.
Instead, WVU gave up a 94-yard touchdown pass from Trevone Boykin to Josh Boyce because, well, that’s what WVU’s defense does apparently. From there, a pair of missed field goals in the first overtime (technically, WVU’s attempt was blocked) led to another pair of touchdowns in the second overtime.
But that’s where the similarities ended. TCU coach Gary Patterson called up a trick play — a reverse-pass from Brandon Carter to Corey Fuller for a touchdown. Then, Patterson opted to go for a two-point conversion — teams are not required to do so until the third overtime — and sure enough, it was Boykin to Boyce for the conversion and TCU came out of Morgantown with a 39-38 win over the No. 23 Mountaineers.
It was ballsy, and it was awesome. The Horned Frogs stopped the bleeding from a two-game slide and become bowl eligible. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers continue to unravel after a 5-0 start and a Heisman that was basically handed to Geno Smith. Until WVU’s season-ending game against Kansas, there isn’t one game the Mountaineers should be favored to win.
Along with Virginia Tech, West Virginia has quickly become one of the biggest disappointments in 2012.
TCU and No. 23 West Virginia are facing off in a crucial Big 12 game for both teams. The winner becomes bowl eligible. The loser will be in a three-game slide.
After being picked on all year, WVU’s defense is playing like it understands what’s at stake. If I told you before kickoff that the Mountaineer defense had given up 14 points, your immediate reaction probably would have been “in the first five minutes?” Not so today. WVU leads TCU 21-14 at the half.
The Mountaineer defense has done a good job of getting pressure on Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin and getting off the field in general — or, at least a better job. WVU’s offense is picking up too with 21 second-quarter points after apparently falling into a cave the past two weeks. That’s been the most troubling part of West Virginia’s two-game slide.
It’s getting a little too late in the season for either team to have a realistic chance at winning the Big 12, but for the conference newbies, there’s a sense of urgency in this game. The Mountaineers still have to face Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. TCU still has Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma.