By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
MORGANTOWN, WVa. — TCU survived Saturday afternoon with a harrowing 41-31 win over West Virginia. The Frogs are now 8-0 on the season for the first time since 2015, which they finished 11-2 with an Alamo Bowl win over Oregon.
Both defenses were largely absent, and TCU didn’t have the game in the bag until the final minute of play, when Max Duggan threw his third touchdown of the day on a 29-yard fade to Savion Williams.
TCU accumulated 494 yards of total offense. It’s the sixth game TCU has eclipsed the 450-yard mark on offense this season.
TCU’s issues with slow starts reared their head again against the Mountaineers, as West Virginia jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. While the Frogs’ defense couldn’t contain West Virginia’s run game, the offense kept the Frogs in it.
Duggan found Taye Barber for a 71-yard touchdown to even the game at 7-7 before hitting Quentin Johnston for a 55-yard score to tie the game at 14-all.
The Frogs took their first lead of the game after forcing a turnover at midfield. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson blitzed from the edge and forced a JT Daniels fumble, which Lwal Uguak recovered. On the first play of TCU’s drive, Kendre Miller ran 51 yards into the end zone to give the Frogs their first lead of the day, 21-14.
West Virginia and TCU continued to go back and forth through the rest of the first half. The Mountaineers tied the game at 21 with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter, but that left too much time on the clock for TCU.
Max Duggan orchestrated a quick seven play, 73-yard drive that took just over a minute of game time and ended with an Emani Bailey 30-yard touchdown run that gave the Frogs a 28-21 lead going into the break.
TCU’s defense stepped up in the second half for the third week in a row, allowing just 10 points in the final two quarters.
Questionable play-calling stalled TCU’s offense on multiple occasions in the second half, including a first-and-goal from the West Virginia 1-yard line, and again when the Frogs moved the ball inside the West Virginia 30. Both drives ended in field goals.
Fortunately for TCU, the defense showed up when it mattered, forcing West Virginia to punt just enough to hold on.
When it mattered most, the Frogs held strong. With 3:56 remaining in the game West Virginia picked off Duggan, just his second interception this season, and took over on its 16-yard line.
The Frogs defense forced an incompletion, a run for a loss of 3 yards and another incompletion to make the Mountaineers punt. TCU’s offense then moved down the field to the West Virginia 29 where they faced fourth-and-1. The Frogs lined up to go for it, and Duggan’s hard count caused West Virginia to jump offsides.
Duggan lofted the ball to Williams, who hauled it in for the dagger, and TCU declined the penalty.
TCU now travels back to Fort Worth and will host Texas Tech at 11 a.m. on Fox as the Big Noon Saturday game.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org