Analysis: TCU 31, West Virginia 30

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello Follow me … @RichCirminiello You didn’t deserve this one, West Virginia. Considering how the Mountaineers played on Saturday, it’s

    November 1, 2014

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello 
    Follow me … @RichCirminiello 

    You didn’t deserve this one, West Virginia. 

    Considering how the Mountaineers played on Saturday, it’s shocking that the game hinged on a Jaden Oberkrom field goal attempt in the waning seconds. For the first time in over a month, West Virginia played like the team that began the season unranked, with a head coach in need of a last-minute reprieve from the Governor. Five turnovers. That just cannot happen against a TCU squad that’s quickly learning how to win tight games, a skill that would have been pretty handy back on Oct. 11 in Waco. 

    Wasn’t it nice to see TCU take a page out of its old playbook for the first time in 2014, putting a little more weight on the defense and special teams to get a pivotal win? Sure, the up-tempo offense is here to stay, and it remains a central reason why the Horned Frogs remain surprise contenders in the playoff hunt. But this quality win was built on the back of the defense, which created that handful of turnovers, and thoroughly muzzled the Clint Trickett-to-Kevin White hook-up. 

    Winning close games is an art form and a learned behavior. So, too, is the ability to shut the door on quality opponents. West Virginia has come a long way this fall, but it’s still processing how to be a four-quarter football team. 

    By Phil Harrison
    Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

    It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t efficient, and it was far from impressive, but TCU is still alive and kicking in many regards.

    West Virginia had everything going its way. Despite five turnovers and countless mistakes, the Mountaineers were able to control TCU throughout … until, that is, it was winning time.

    And what happened at winning time? West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and gang decided to play it safe, and take a chance at the sands in the hourglass running out before TCU could turn things around. Instead, what happened is what you see happen time and time again. The conservative team loses its aggression, emotion and momentum and gives up a winning drive. 

    So it went in this one, too. 

    Nobody is ready to crown the Horned Frogs champions of anything yet, but there are games in any championship run portfolio, when a team has to find a way to win. Give credit to TCU for taking advantage of its opportunities and pulling it out at the last gasp to stay in contention in the Big Twelve and the all-important conversation for the College Football Playoff.

    But there is no doubt that after losing on a kick, Holgorsen will be kicking himself in the pants tonight wondering what if.

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