(Neal Brown postgame press convention)
Neal Brown felt Saturday’s sport at TCU was an opportunity for West Virginia to additional show the progress it has made in 2023, whereas proving the Mountaineers have what it takes to be among the many higher groups within the Large 12 Convention.
The latter continues to be up for debate, however by claiming a grueling 24-21 win over the Horned Frogs at Carter Stadium, West Virginia is 2-0 within the Large 12 for the primary time in Brown’s 5 seasons after being projected to complete final within the 14-team league.
“In all probability as happy with a soccer crew as I’ve ever been,” Brown mentioned. “What an enormous win. TCU is a extremely good soccer crew. They gained a whole lot of these video games final 12 months on their method to the Nationwide Championship. I’ve a ton of respect for them. This was a combat. We’re a crew that’s type of constructed for ugly soccer and fights. We have now a extremely powerful crew that’s actually shut. It’s a bunch that’s grown collectively.
“Our backs have been towards the wall. No person’s believed in us. I don’t wish to hear anyone that mentioned they noticed us being 4-1 — nope. The one individuals that actually believed had been us. I felt as we went via spring, summer time and the top of fall camp, we had a crew that was able to profitable shut soccer video games.”
The result wasn’t safe till defensive finish Sean Martin blocked Griffin Kell’s 55-yard discipline aim try, permitting the Mountaineers (4-1, 2-0) to regain possession with 32 seconds left.
WVU’s second blocked discipline aim within the remaining body got here immediately after Martin appeared to have sacked TCU (3-2, 1-1) quarterback Chandler Morris, just for the ruling to be overturned to an incomplete go upon evaluation.
Kell, who was unsuccessful on three field-goal makes an attempt, by no means received his final attempt past the road of scrimmage due to the 6-foot-5 Martin.
“The earlier play, they took my sack away, so I used to be fairly mad,” Martin mentioned. “Coach advised us to come back to the sideline and he advised us to strike and put our arms up. I strike, put my arm up and blocked the kick with my hand.”
On the Horned Frogs’ second-to-last collection, Kell’s 46-yard discipline aim attempt was blocked by Mike Lockhart after TCU went for the tie on fourth-and-1 from the Mountaineers’ 28-yard line.
With an opportunity to seal the win by choosing up a number of first downs, WVU was unable to maneuver the chains and quarterback Garrett Greene threw an incomplete go on third-and-1 that left a remaining likelihood for the house crew.
Regardless of dropping security Aubrey Burks to a first-half damage and coping with accidents to spear Hershey McLaurin and linebacker Trey Lathan within the fourth quarter, the Mountaineer protection continued to rise to the event with out a number of key parts.
“We’re mentally powerful and also you noticed that tonight,” Brown mentioned. “We had a number of guys exit.”
In the end, it was the WVU protection forcing TCU to punt off its aim line that resulted within the Mountaineers beginning throughout midfield and scoring what proved to be game-winning factors on Michael Hayes’ 46-yard discipline aim with 9:31 remaining.
That marked the one scoring play of the fourth quarter, which started with the Mountaineers going through second-and-goal from the TCU 4 with the sport tied at 21. Greene accomplished a 3-yard go to tight finish Kole Taylor, earlier than tailback CJ Donaldson was stopped for no acquire on third down and a lack of 1 yard on fourth down.
“Anytime it’s lower than 2 or 3 [yards] down there, you go for it. Even when you don’t get it, I nonetheless suppose it’s the precise transfer,” Brown mentioned.
That left the Mountaineers with a bitter feeling as they’d dominated everything of the third quarter, a body by which West Virginia had 129 whole yards in to TCU’s 1.
Trailing 21-14 at halftime, West Virginia did produce a tying third-quarter landing on Greene’s 1-yard run on the 4:29 mark.
Greene returned to the lineup and began after struggling an damage to his proper ankle within the first quarter of a win over Pitt on September 16 that stored him out of final week’s win over Texas Tech. Nicco Marchiol, who quarterbacked the Mountaineers in his first begin towards the Pink Raiders, suffered a midweek ankle damage and was unable to play.
“Garrett practiced a little bit bit on Tuesday, didn’t apply on Wednesday and I actually was planning on going with Nicco, as a result of Garrett went out Tuesday and he actually needed to go and was in all probability 75 %. Nicco was wholesome,” Brown mentioned. “At that time, I felt [Greene] may have two-plus weeks to arrange for Houston. We didn’t even actually apply him on Wednesday, however on Wednesday, proper on the finish of apply, Nicco rolled his ankle. Thursday morning, it was fairly clear that Nicco wasn’t going to have the ability to go.“
For as dominant as West Virginia’s protection was within the second half, TCU had little hassle shifting the ball over the primary two quarters.
Morris’ 59-yard landing go to JP Richardson left the Mountaineers trailing 7-0 simply 2:45 into the sport regardless of the guests receiving the opening kickoff.
Richardson did the majority of his injury after the catch and received away from Burks on the lengthy scoring play.
Nonetheless, the Mountaineers supplied a right away response when Greene answered any questions on his mobility with a 35-yard landing run.
“I didn’t suppose he’d be capable of run in addition to he did, however the joker is hard,” Brown mentioned. “He’s powerful and he’s a winner. He simply discovered a means.”
The groups stayed tied at 7 via the opening quarter as Kell couldn’t join on a 53-yard discipline aim later in that interval.
Nonetheless, Morris broke unfastened for a 31-yard landing run on the primary play of the second quarter that allowed TCU to guide 14-7.
WVU produced a essential fourth down pink zone cease on TCU’s subsequent collection that stored the deficit seven, and the Mountaineers pulled even within the late phases of the primary half on Donaldson’s 1-yard plunge into the top zone.
But simply earlier than halftime, Morris discovered Dylan Wright for a 36-yard landing go on fourth-and-3, giving TCU its seven-point lead again.
WVU appeared to attract nearer on the ultimate play of the opening half when Hayes cut up the uprights on a 53-yard discipline aim, however a false begin penalty on Nick Malone worn out the three factors, and Hayes finally missed his 58-yard try.
“We got here into the locker room and cooled down,” Martin mentioned. “We had made some errors and missed some alternatives, however we got here again out and performed laborious.”
TCU had 312 of its 433 yards within the first half.
“We received some protection issues fastened and did a little bit bit higher job tackling in house,” Brown mentioned of the improved second-half protection.
Morris accomplished 23-of-41 passes for 298 yards and 38 runs from the Horned Frogs netted 135 yards.
Greene was 10-for-21 with 142 yards and rushed for a team-high 80 yards on 12 carries.
“The ankle felt one hundred pc all week, however one thing I’ve to get higher at it’s getting right into a groove earlier and that’s fully on me,” Greene mentioned.
Donaldson added 61 dashing yards on 22 makes an attempt, whereas true freshman Jahiem White displayed a burst and rushed 5 instances for 46 yards.
Offensive linemen Wyatt Milum and Tomas Rimac additionally suffered accidents and needed to go away the sport, although the extent of the accidents is unknown.
There was not a turnover within the contest, however West Virginia had a authentic alternative to intercept a number of passes.
“We have now to work on our palms this bye week. We dropped 4 interceptions,” Brown mentioned.
(Postgame “Spherical of Sound”)
Linebacker Lee Kpogba led all gamers with 11 tackles. He additionally added one sack, three quarterback hurries and a go breakup.
Earlier than leaving with the late damage, McLaurin had maybe his greatest displaying as a Mountaineer by recording seven tackles, two TFLs and a pair of go breakups.
Burks was injured on a punt protection play within the second quarter and needed to be strapped to a again board and carted off the sector.
Lathan additionally appeared to endure a big damage as he was carted off the sector within the fourth quarter. The ESPN2 tv broadcast opted to not present the replay of Lathan’s damage as a result of its ugly nature.
“As excited as I’m for our crew, I actually harm for Aubrey Burks,” Brown mentioned. “That’s a scary deal. We’re getting good experiences on him. He’s going to remain right here tonight as precaution. Trey Lathan, who was simply coming into his personal and enjoying nice, he will get harm and goes to have to remain and doubtless have surgical procedure right here.”
Greene felt these accidents introduced a tight-knit crew even nearer collectively in a troublesome street setting.
“Our ideas and prayers are with Aubrey Burks and Trey,” Greene mentioned. “That’s the unhealthy half about this sport. When accidents like this occur, it’s actually scary stuff. I’m proud of the best way our guys rallied round that. We gained the sport for them and we’re glad we pulled it off.”
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