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2018 Season

10 Takeaways: TCU Tried To Hang Around & Then The Mountaineer Offense Got Going

Grier’s Heisman chances are about the same as TCU’s bowl chances; 10 things we’re taking away from the Mountaineer’s win over the Horned Frogs.

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The Horned Frogs were heavy underdogs as they headed to Morgantown, but the lone glimpse of hope was the defense. That defense kept the Horned Frogs in the game. That is, until Grier and the Mountaineer offense found a rhythm and scored 21 points in the final five minutes of the first half.

The game never got close in the second half, and West Virginia cruised to a 47-10 victory. Here are ten takeaways from West Virginia’s big win.

1. Will Grier Won’t Win The Heisman, But He’ll Make It Dang Close

Take away the Iowa State game, and Will Grier might of had as good a chance as Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa to win college football’s most prestigious individual award. The key there is individual, and Grier’s 2,961 passing yards and 31 touchdowns might be worthy for that award. However, Tagovailoa is still the heavy favorite to win as the Tide rolls through their “competition”. And then there’s Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray getting into the mix as well.

2. West Virginia’s run defense can compete with the best of them

TCU had -7 rushing yards for the game. NEGATIVE SEVEN.  Not a Typo.

In football, it’s almost unheard of for teams to have negative rushing yards. The Mountaineers have their best defensive line in recent memory and are definitely not wasting it. It wasn’t only the defensive line that gets the credit though – linebacker David Long Jr won a couple awards for defensive player of the week with his four tackles for a loss.

3. TCU will most likely be sitting at home during bowl season

TCU fell to 4-6 with this loss, which means they need two wins to become bowl eligible. Unfortunately, there’s only two games left. Only Baylor and Oklahoma State remain on the schedule. For a team that has lost six of their last eight games, a bowl game seems unlikely. This season has been nothing short of a disappointment for the Horned Frogs.

Coach Gary Patterson addressed the Frog’s situation after the game.

“We have to win two more ball games,” Gary Patterson said. “I’m going to tell you a story. There was a guy, a long time ago, that did your job and we lost to UAB. We went 4-5, we had Southern Miss and Louisville left, and he said ‘do you think if you beat Southern Miss and Louisville,’ which were both ranked in the top-20, you deserve to go to a bowl game?’ And I said ‘yes,’ and we did.

“That was my first year as a head coach. 2001. So, you keep fighting. We had the same problems, you have to get ready to go, you have to understand that West Virginia’s a good football team, and we played them at their house, and it’s the way it is. But, you have to give them a lot of credit, (on) both sides of the ball.”

4. West Virginia can now run the ball, and it’s showing on the scoreboard

Whatever Jake Spavital did since the Iowa State game has worked out tremendously. The Mountaineers have scored 147 points in the last three games, and it’s been because of the balance between running and throwing the ball. Martell Pettaway and Kennedy McKoy have combined for 314 yards on the ground over the last two games. This lethal offense has just gotten better.

5. Jalen Reagor and Michael Collins are forming chemistry

TCU quarterback Michael Collins found receiver Jalen Reagor 11 times for 150 yards against West Virginia. This was pretty much the only form offense for TCU. The connection resulted in more than half of the Frog’s total yards, and their only touchdown. As most of the Horned Frogs offensive playmakers continue to be out, this combo is keeping the offense afloat.

6. The second quarter was very reminiscent of TCU’s season

Play well, look good defensively, and then give up 21 quick points. That story line looks exactly like TCU’s season. A good start and then everything just breaks loose. There was no coming back from a 24-3 deficit.

Things fell apart as TCU failed to field the ensuing kick off after West Virginia had taken a 10-3 lead. All of a sudden, the Mountaineers had the ball right back in the red zone, and their offense is too good to be given that kind of field position. In the span of 1:27, the game went from 3-3 to a Mountaineer 17-3 lead and TCU never recovered.

7. TCU showed some life

Take away a stupid kickoff mistake and this game may of been very different. The Horned Frog’s defense had shut down the Mountaineer’s, but fatigue got to them as they continually found themselves right back onto the field. Either way, this game wasn’t a complete mess for TCU.

8. David Sills owes Will Grier dinner after this one

Unfortunately, as pointed out above, Grier’s Heisman chances are slim. He needs every yard, every score, every stat he can get. And while he had decent numbers against the Horned Frogs, they could have been great. David Sills V, West Virginia’s most dominant receiver, has two uncharacteristic drops that kept two would-be scores off the board. Not ideal for a quarterback trying to make up ground in the Heisman race.

9. David Long Had Himself A Game

The X-factor for this West Virginia team is the defense. A big part of the defense is David Long, and he was seeming everywhere against TCU. Long finished with five solo tackles, six total tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks, and he broke up three passes. Long was a machine tearing through the Frog’s offensive line, and a big reason why TCU struggled to get their offense going.

10. Grier vs Murray is going to be special

This showdown is in two weeks, and while both quarterbacks should be focused on their respective next week’s game, we can’t help but be excited for this quarterback battle. This game had a look of a shootout last year before Grier broke his finger. Hopefully both these guys will be ready to go on Black Friday.

What makes the Mountaineer offense so tough to contain is that Grier has no problem spreading the ball around. Grier threw for three touchdowns against the Frogs, and all three were to different receivers.

First, Grier found a rarely-used weapon in the Big 12, a tight end. Tecon Wesco was wide open here. This was just part of what was a great day for Wesco. The tight end caught five passes for 86 yards and the touchdown seen here.

Later in the game, Grier marched the Mountaineers into the red zone, and found the sure-handed Gary Jennings Jr underneath just short of the goal line, and then Jennings did the rest of the work to get into the end zone.

And of course, the Grier to Sills V touchdown connection was kept alive with this touchdown later in the game.

And defenses shouldn’t forget about Marcus Simms on the outside, either. He didn’t have a score against TCU, but he did haul in this beauty.

 

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