Jarret Doege hit Isaiah Esdale on a 35-yard touchdown pass in the end zone with 2:10 to play that proved to be the difference as visiting West Virginia roared back to defeat TCU 20-17 in an old-fashioned defensive slugfest on Friday in Big 12 Conference action in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Mountaineers (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) took over at their own 39 with 4:47 to play and, helped by a roughing the passer penalty, moved to the winning score in seven plays.
TCU had a final chance to tie or win, taking over at their own 31-yard line with 46 seconds left but did not cross midfield. The loss means the Horned Frogs (5-7, 3-6) will not play in a bowl game this year, snapping a five-year postseason streak.
TCU outgained West Virginia 297-244 and the two teams combined to convert just 12 of 32 third downs in a game played in a cold and steady drizzle.
Doege, who took over as the Mountaineers’ starter two weeks ago in a win over Kansas State, passed for 158 yards and two touchdowns while also uncorking three interceptions.
TCU got 144 yards passing from Max Duggan, but the true freshman also had two interceptions.
West Virginia opened the scoring on its first possession, starting on the TCU 14-yard line after an interception by Tykee Smith and using four plays to move to Doege’s 3-yard TD pass to Leddie Brown.
The Horned Frogs answered midway through the first quarter as Sewo Olonilua rumbled 2 yards for the tying touchdown.
The two teams traded field goals in the second quarter, with TCU’s Jonathan Song converting from 30 yards away at the 9:49 mark and the Mountaineers’ Evan Staley tying the game with a 40-yarder four and a half minutes later.
TCU roared back to the lead on Jalen Reagor’s 70-yard punt return touchdown with 10:32 to play in the third quarter. West Virginia then cut the lead to 17-13 on Staley’s 24-yard field goal with 1:25 to play in the third.
—Field Level Media