FORT WORTH — If there is anything to be learned from TCU’s 31-24 escape versus West Virginia on Saturday, it’s simply the fact that there’s too much football left to know if this Horned Frogs’ team is for real or not.
Certainly, TCU has emerged as the mid-season favorite to win the Big 12. Their win at Oklahoma State earlier this season combined with Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa State Saturday underscored the fact that, to date, they’ve been the league’s most impressive team.
But Saturday’s win at home over West Virginia wasn’t decided until the game’s final minutes on a 3-yard touchdown run by Kenny Hill. And it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Frogs’ defense gave up over 500 yards to the Mountaineers including touchdown passes of 64 and 76 yards after halftime.
Yes, they held West Virginia to roughly half of its 48.8 points per game scoring average coming into Saturday, but that number was inflated anyway by the fact the Mountaineers scheduled East Carolina (56-24), Delaware State (59-16) and Kansas (56-34) in a three-game stretch before taking on TCU.
In contrast to those games, Saturday’s game was tied at 24-all late in the fourth quarter despite the fact that TCU had held a 17-3 lead at the 6:06 mark of the third quarter. That advantage came via a 45-yard Hill-to-Jalen Reagor touchdown pass.
Just over two minutes later, the Mountaineers cut that to 17-10 with the first of those two long touchdown strikes – a 64-yarder from former Florida Gator Will Grier to quarterback-turned-receiver David Sills V. Barely another two minutes expired before Grier found Ka’Raun White on the 76-yarder and suddenly the game was tied.
It took a trick play just before the end of the third quarter for TCU to regain its rhythm when KaVontae Turpin took a handoff on a sweep right from Hill only to stop and throw the ball back across the field to his neglected quarterback. Hill caught the pass and sprinted down the left sideline 48 yards to regain the lead.
Another 4-yard Sills touchdown from Grier evened things once again before Hill’s 3-yard dash with 2:53 remaining finally delivered the win to the hosts.
TCU will play at Kansas State Saturday with an early noon ET kickoff. West Virginia will host Texas Tech at the same time.
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