WVU had another chance, though, in overtime. Stunningly, TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom missed from 37 yards out.
But the Mountaineers fell down again, this time allowing a field goal attempt by Tyler Bitancurt to be blocked. (Bitancurt must have the school record for total blocks, career.)
The misery wouldn't end for the Mountaineer faithful withstanding the chilly weather. Smith and Bailey got them off their hands with a sweet touchdown in the left side of the end zone. Smith bent over and scooped Bailey in the air on his shoulder.
Yet the Mountaineers fell down not once, but twice more. On a gadget play, TCU scored on its second possession of the overtime. Corey Fuller burned WVU's Pat Miller before cutting loose of a "woohoo" in celebration.
Yet Patterson gave both his team and WVU one last opportunity. Winner take all. He went for a 2-point conversion instead of kicking for the tie and a third OT.
"I'm one of those people who believes when you play someone on the road, you have to go take ballgames," said the TCU coach.
WVU had the opportunity to deny that. One stop and the game belonged to the Mountaineers.
But it was TCU that seized the moment. Boyce secured a low pass and, after watching the video board, trying to convince themselves the pass skipped off the ground, the WVU faithful filed out disappointed.
Afterward, WVU players and coaches spoke.
"It's quiet [in the Mountaineer locker room]," said linebacker Isaiah Bruce. "There's a lot of disappointment. We really came into this game expecting to win. It hurts."
It's one that should. The game, and perhaps the season, was there for the taking.
Now, the Mountaineers are 5-3. The early-season mojo has gone the way of Halloween. With a trip to Oklahoma State, a visit from Oklahoma and a trip to Iowa State dead ahead, one now has to wonder if the Mountaineers will be playing for their bowl eligibility on Dec. 1 against lowly Kansas.
If so, maybe cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts has the reason.
"From top down, from Coach [Dana] Holgorsen and [defensive coordinator] Joe DeForest on," Roberts said, "we've stressed you have to be mentally tough. This is a prime example why."
In regard to Saturday's game. In regard to the season.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.