Horned Frogs pulled out a win Saturday taking down No. 23 West Virginia, 31-24 in a back-and forth affair.
“They’re resilient,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “Even when they tied it up 17-17 and 24-24, I didn’t see them panic.”
The Frogs built a 14-point cushion, 17-3, with six minutes left in the third quarter, only to see it evaporate in five minutes after Mountaineer signal-caller Will Grier threw a pair of touchdown passes: a 64-yard connection with David Sills V and a 76-yard bomb to Ka’Raun White.
Patterson said he called for a cornerback blitz a few times too many, which allowed Grier to hit wide-open receivers. Those plays accounted for 14 of West Virginia 24 points and 140 of its 508 total yards.
The Horned Frog defense forced the Mountaineers to kick a field goal in the red zone and only allowed WVU to convert on seven of its 18 third downs.
“First half, we limited them, made them kick a field goal, stopped them on third downs, and they missed a field goal,” Patterson said.
The defense demonstrated experience when Nick Orr intercepted Grier midway through the third quarter on a familiar play.
“In the second half our guys saw them run the vertical and saw them run the dig, and [safety] Nick Orr came off and played it,” Patterson said. “You have guys you can talk to, and when you can talk to them then you can fix things.”
Offensively, Kenny Hill flashed his experience in all facets of the game, becoming the fourth player in Big 12 history with a passing, rushing, and receiving touchdown in same game, joining Eric Crouch in 1999, Craig Ochs in 2000, and Joe Ganz in 2008. Hill connected on 15 of 28 passes for 188 yards with a touchdown. He caught one pass for 48 yards, and a touchdown, as well as running the ball six times for 18 yards and a score.
Hill’s first catch of his career came from the arm of wide receiver KaVontae Turpin on a throw back toward the TCU quarterback, who then sprinted down the left side, spun out of a defender’s reach, and found his way into the end zone.
After Hill ran into the end zone in a more traditional way, off a cut-block by TCU Kyle Hicks, and a fourth-down stop of the Mountaineers, the Horned Frogs find themselves as the only undefeated team left in the Big 12, which doesn’t mean much to Patterson.
“Oh no, I would bet that every game is going to be like this,” Patterson said. “You win about three or four of them that are ugly.”
TCU heads to Manhattan, Kansas next for a matchup with the Kansas State Wild Cats Oct. 14. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.