FORT WORTH, Texas - All week long - and for multiple weeks, to be honest - West Virginia's coaches have preached finishing to the Mountaineers.
Saturday they finally did it. Well, eventually that is.
For the third week in a row, West Virginia lost a late second-half lead, this time Saturday against TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium. But this time the Mountaineers were good enough to only let an opponent tie the game and then WVU finally finished one off in overtime.
Josh Lambert's 34-yard field goal gave West Virginia 30-27 win over the Horned Frogs, snapping a three-game losing streak and keeping the team's bowl hopes alive and in far better shape than when the day began.
"I told our guys this morning, I don't care what the circumstances are, we are going to finish this game,'' defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. "And finally we did.''
Well, again, the Mountaineers eventually finished it
After blowing a 27-17 lead in the final three minutes, the Mountaineers won in overtime after the defense threw TCU back - Jalen Oberkrom had to try a 62-yad field goal and was just short and wide - and the offense did its job. Even a nullified touchdown run by Charles Sims didn't deter the Mountaineers, who simply went back to work and lined the ball up for the game-winner.
Oh, and by the way, that was a brand new experience for Lambert.
"I've never done that, even in high school or before that,'' the redshirt freshman kicker said. "I've never been in a position to win a game on the last play.''
The win gives the Mountaineers (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) three more games in which to get the two wins needed for a bowl berth. A loss in this one would have forced the unenviable task of winning each of the last three. Next Saturday brings a visit from Texas, which is 5-0 in league play.
TCU suffered the fate the Mountaineers avoided. The Horned Frogs (3-6, 1-5) now must win their last three to earn a bowl berth, including a finale against Baylor.
Sims, in one of his best performances, rushed for 154 yards for West Virginia and scored twice. Clint Trickett passed for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall passed for 394 yards and three scores, completing 40 of 58 passes.
Where the Horned Frogs failed big time - and the Mountaineers succeeded - was in turnovers. At one stretch of the late third and early fourth quarters, when WVU was erasing a 17-10 deficit and going ahead 27-17, TCU turned the ball over three times in a span of five plays, two fumbles and an interception.
Oddly enough, that stretch began just when it appeared WVU might be down for the count. Trickett had just thrown an interception to Paul Dawson and the Horned Frogs had the ball at the WVU 3.