No. 7 WVU routs outmanned TCU
MORGANTOWN — It took almost two quarters, but once the West Virginia University offense got rolling Saturday there was not much visiting Texas Christian could do to stop the avalanche of points.
No. 7 WVU (8-1, 6-1 Big 12) thumped the Horned Frogs 47-10 to keep pace in the race for a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
Redshirt senior quarterback Will Grier, suddenly back in the conversation for an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony after a midseason lull, completed 25 of 39 pass attempts for 343 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Receivers David Sills and Gary Jennings each caught touchdown passes, but tight end Trevon Wesco had his best game as a Mountaineer. Wesco, a Martinsburg, West Virginia, native and former twosport standout at Musselman High, hauled in five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown as the West Virginia offense tore through the Horned Frogs’ defense for much of the day.
“I’ve been saying it all year,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. ”(Wesco) is getting better every game. The blocking aspect of it is something we’ve seen all year. The more he plays and the more we scheme things up for him, the better he is. Yeah, he’s pretty good. He’s a big part of what we’re doing and why we’re so successful offensively right now. He’s a big part of that. I’ve seen this coming for quite a while.”
TCU (4-6, 2-4 Big 12) opened the game by forcing WVU into a three-and-out before marching down the field for a field goal to open the scoring. Both teams struggled to do much with the ball for the rest of the first quarter and much of the second quarter before West Virginia got hot just before halftime.
Run ning back Ken nedy McKoy got things started with a 33-yard touchdown with 5:09 to play in the second quarter. TCU fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which WVU recovered. Martell Pettaway capped a quick drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 3:42 remaining in the half before Grier hit a wide-open Wesco for a 32-yard touchdown on the Mountaineers’ next drive to set WVU up with a 24-3 lead at the break.
“About five minutes was the difference of 20 points,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “Right now, we can’t make up for mistakes yet. (Like that) fumble on the kickoff return. You have to make plays. We have enough energy right now to play about a half against good people. We played not quite a half — we played up to about six minutes left to go.”
West Virginia’s defense was as good as it had been all season, holding TCU to 222 total yards. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that WVU held the Horned Frogs to minus-7 rushing yards for the game. It was the first time the Mountaineers held an opponent to negative rushing yards since Sept. 18, 2010, against Maryland.
“They were motivated all week,” Holgorsen said of the defense. “We’ve been playing good defense. I’ve said this a hundred times, Tony Gibson has arguably done as good a job as any defensive coordinator in college football. We’ve got high standards for playing good defense here. Last week, we probably didn’t play like we could have. Like I said on Tuesday, I think our opponent had something to do with that. Texas played well offensively, but we were pretty motivated to come back and play better. Obviously, we did.”
West Virginia finished the game with 535 total yards, including 371 through the air. It was the third consecutive game WVU has put up more than 500 yards of total offense and the fourth time in five games it has hit that milestone.
“I thought TCU was pretty good on defense, and I still do,” Holgorsen said. “I thought they got worn down a little bit, obviously. (It was) back and forth, like this game usually is. I thought we did a good job of changing our mindset offensively toward the end of the second quarter. We started using some different tempos with them, which I thought was good on (offensive coordinator) Jake Spavital’s part. We just got momentum, created a turnover. Our special teams played really good. (We created) a turnover in the kicking game, and then jumped on them. Then we came out and started fast in the second half.
“The goal is to be 8-1, and we’re 8-1. We’ll enjoy it, then move on to Stillwater (Oklahoma State) tomorrow.”
WVU visits Oklahoma State next.