The Times West Virginian

Sports

November 3, 2012

Extra painful

WVU blows late lead, loses in 2 OTs to TCU

MORGANTOWN — The deterioration of what once was a dream season into a nightmare for West Virginia University continued Saturday when Texas Christian University pulled off a trio of miracles to steal a 39-38 victory in double overtime from the Mountaineers before 52,322 stunned fans.

A five-game winning streak now has become WVU’s first three-game losing streak since 2004.

“It falls on me (as the head coach),” Dana Holgorsen said, “What we’ve done the last three games offensively is totally unacceptable.”

Ranked No. 5 in the nation a month ago, WVU was beaten 49-14 by Texas Tech and 55-14 by Kansas State before an off-week last week, a time in which the Mountaineers did show marked improvement on what had been one of the nation’s worst defenses.

But even with that TCU had too many tricks up its sleeve for West Virginia to overcome, especially when the Mountaineers were struggling in running the ball and in their special-teams play.

In fact, were it not for a dynamic performance by wide receiver and kick returner Tavon Austin, this would not have been much of a game at all.

In the first half, Austin tied the game at 14-all with an electrifying 43-yard touchdown off one of those “jet passes” from quarterback Geno Smith, the little touch pass he throws as Austin runs in motion in front of him.

On this one, Austin went to the left sideline, got himself hemmed in, found an escape route, made a move and went clear across field, scoring in the right corner of the end zone. Credited with just the 43 yards, he ran clearly more than 100 yards for the score.

Then, with 3:19 remaining and the score tied at 24, TCU punted to the Mountaineers, a punt Austin gathered in at his own 26. Again he wiggled and waggled his way into the clear and took the ball into the end zone for the go-ahead TD.

Now it’s true that the Mountaineer defense, in the past, would never be expected to stop TCU in this situation, but things were different with this defense.

To begin with, coordinator Joe DeForest was taken off the field and put in the coaching box to make his calls.

“It was calm, surreal up there. Twenty-three years of coaching and I never was up there,” he said. “You can see the whole field, everything. You can make corrections.”

The result was a better plan on defense, but there also was some changes in personnel, Cecil Level, out of WVU Tech, moving from safety to cornerback and having a huge game and freshman safety Karl Joseph hammering people with nine tackles.

In the first half they forced five punts, as many as they have forced in the previous four games. By the time the game ended the Horned Frogs had punted nine times and lost two fumbles and thrown an interception.

But the WVU offense struggled far too much.

“They tackled a lot better than we blocked. They whipped us up front. The O-line played bad. The receivers didn’t make many plays. Geno was probably as bad as he’s been since he’s been here,” Holgorsen said.

So it was that TCU remained in contention after Austin’s punt return and the first miracle was about to happen.

Quarterback Trevone Boykin found himself backed up at his own 6 and under pressure, the same kind of pressure that produced three sacks by WVU.

This time he escaped. As Josh Boyce ran his pass route down the sideline he was knocked out of bounds and, since he was pushed, he was still an eligible receiver. If only the secondary had realized that, but they didn’t and he ran free, was hit by Boykin, and it went for a 94-yard touchdown.

The first overtime was a comedy of errors, neither team scoring, TCU saving the game when Jason Verrett blocked Tyler Bitancurt’s field goal, part of a strange day for Bitancurt, who hit a 52-yard field goal, missed three others, punted for a 39.5 average and then failed to field a bad snap on a punt that set up a TCU touchdown.

On the first play of the second overtime, Smith hit Stedman Bailey with a scoring pass, his 15th TD catch of the year, to give the Mountaineers a 38-31 lead.

But Patterson had another trick to pull, this a reverse pass from Brandon Carter to Corey Fuller for the score.

“It was a trick play. They tricked us. It’s like magic,” DeForest said.

Now TCU coach Gary Patterson called time out and opted to go for the win with a two-point conversion. Boykin rolled right, threw toward Boyce who went down to grass-top level and made the catch, a catch that withstood the unblinking eye of replay for the two-point conversion.

Holgorsen could not argue the call.

“I thought he caught it. They (replay officials) looked at it. So I guess he did,” he said.

But that wasn’t what beat WVU. The fact that they could not run the ball, gaining just 78 yards on 35 carries, 28 of the yards coming on scrambles by Geno Smith, made WVU one-dimensional against a team that was willing to give them the run.

Why can’t WVU run?

“I don’t know,” Smith said. “We obviously understand we have to run the ball. We have to be a varied offense to be good. The games we excelled in and done great in we ran the ball and passed the ball well and kept the defense on its toes.

“Now lately, teams have disrespected the run game, totally disregarding it, putting just one linebacker in the box, sometimes even when we have two and three running backs in the game.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter@bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jackets edge Pens, 4-3, in double OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 20, 2014

  • Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over Pirates, 8-7

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 20, 2014

  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 19, 2014

  • Bucs trade for Mets’ Ike Davis

    The New York Mets traded slumping first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, parting ways with a power hitter who proved to be too inconsistent at the plate.
    Pittsburgh sent minor league right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named to New York for the 27-year-old Davis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Penguins wary of Blue Jackets after Game 1 escape

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Tori Postlewait front.jpg East’s Postlewait, North’s Latocha toss no-hitters

    Tori Postlewait made a deal with her great-uncle, Kenny Carpenter, before her freshman season.
    If the Bees’ pitcher tossed a no-hitter, Carpenter promised to give her $20.
    Well, it took four years, but it’s finally time for Postlewait’s great-uncle to pay up.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • East tennis splits with Polar Bears

    Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont split a pair of tennis matches Thursday, with Fairmont Senior winning the boys’ match and East Fairmont taking the girls’ competition.
    In the Bees’ 6-1 girls’ victory, Cara Laswell took second singles, 8-2. Erica Gorman won third singles, 8-1. And Carrington Reese won fourth singles, 8-3.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos