"I was in a bad place right there,'' WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "I was thinking that the turnover thing was going to get us. We had to get out there and force some turnovers.''
And so the Mountaineers did.
First, TCU coughed up the ball on that first-and-goal play from the 2 when Trevone Boykin, playing as a wildcat quarterback, fumbled the ball away. West Virginia then went 72 yards in nine plays and got a 42-yard Lambert field goal to cut the deficit to 17-13.
TCU kept the ball only one play after that field goal, Pachall throwing an interception to Ishmael Banks near midfield on the next play. The Mountaineers then went 56 yards in nine plays to take a 20-17 lead on a spectacular diving touchdown by tight end Cody Clay. Clay caught the ball just outside the 5-yard line, turned upfield and dove to get the ball inside the pylon for the touchdown and with just under nine minutes to play WVU had the lead.
"I had 55 other plays today that were just blocking,'' the tight end/fullback said. "So yeah, it was nice to do that.''
It wasn't over, though. TCU then had a quick three-and-out and on the third play Will Clarke stripped Pachall in the pocket. Darwin Cook recovered at the TCU 17 and three plays later Trickett hit Sims out of the backfield and he dove inside the same pylon as Clay for a touchdown that made it 27-17 with 7:11 to go.
TCU didn't fade away quietly, though. The Horned Frogs drove methodically down the field for a touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Pachall to David Porter with 3:01 to play that made it 27-24. When the Mountaineers couldn't get more than one first down, they had to punt back to TCU inside the final 90 seconds.
The Frogs got the ball at their own 33 with 1:19 to play and no time outs, at which point Pachall passed them right down the field. When the drive died inside the 30, Jaden Oberkrom's 45-yard field goal with 19 seconds tied the score and sent it to overtime.
For much of the first half TCU just dominated West Virginia. The Mountaineers, though, somehow came up with a handful of difference-making plays that allowed them to trail by just 17-10 at halftime.
TCU dominated the game for the first quarter and a half, jumping out to a 17-3 lead that could have been worse. The Horned Frogs turned the ball over on the game's first play and gave up a field goal, then got cute while apparently driving for a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal after a trick play failed near the goal line.
Only those two plays and three explosive plays in a row by WVU's otherwise-struggling offense prevented a blowout by halftime.
Trailing 17-3 and doing virtually nothing on either side of the ball, all of a sudden West Virginia changed some blocking schemes and showed a bit of life midway through the second quarter. Getting the ball in its worst field position of the game at its own 13, the Mountaineers zipped right down the field in three plays. Sims started it with a 29-yard run, then Mario Alford caught a 27-yard pass from Trickett before Sims ran 31 yards for a touchdown.
Suddenly a game that appeared to be getting out of hand was just a 17-10 TCU lead, which is where it remained until the fourth quarter.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.