Based on recent history, some thought the West Virginia game might turn into a significant test for unbeaten and fifth-ranked TCU as the last three matchups between the two had been decided by a combined five points and three overtime periods. Through two quarters of play, that’s ended up being the case. For the most part.
Through one quarter of play, though, that didn’t look to even be remotely the case as the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 17-0 lead and the rout looked to be on. TCU seemed to ease up a bit, however, and allowed WVU right back in the game as the visitors scored the first 10 points of the second quarter and pulled to within 17-10 with just under five minutes remaining in the half.
The WVU defense stiffened on a late TCU drive as they held the Horned Frogs to a field goal after they had gotten deep inside the red zone. Then, inexplicable play-calling by WVU led to a punt and gave TCU a bonus possession that they were able to turn into a 57-yard field goal with no time left. The twin three-pointers gave TCU a 23-10 lead heading into the half.
The biggest individual difference-maker on the field for either side and leading the way for TCU, as always, was Trevone Boykin.
The Heisman Trophy front-runner, along with LSU running back Leonard Fournette, was his normally productive self, accounting for a total of 244 yards — 210 passing, 34 rushing; TCU had 279 as a team. Boykin also had a hand in both touchdowns, a 17-yarder to Josh Doctson to open the scoring and then…
Doctson, incidentally, 126 yards on seven first-half catches. Skyler Howard‘s 32-yard pass to Shelton Gibson gave the Mountaineers their lone touchdown of the half. The story of WVU’s half, though, may have been the color yellow.
WVU, unbelievably, was called for major penalties four times on third-and-longs — at least two were questionable and/or suspect — that gifted the high-powered Horned Frogs first downs each time. Those calls ended up contributing in some form or fashion to 17 TCU points.
“I don’t feel like getting fined,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said when asked about the officiating as he headed into the first-half locker room.