TCU beats West Virginia in double-overtime thriller

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Josh Boyce had already played a great game.

But with the Horned Frogs trailing West Virginia by a touchdown and needing to strike quickly, TCU's leading receiver took a pass from Trevone Boykin 94 yards and outraced defenders to the end zone to tie the game with 1:28 remaining.

Then, in double overtime, Boyce went low to grab the game-winning 2-point conversion pass to give TCU a heart-stopping 39-38 victory. The catch was reviewed by officials, and the on-field ruling was upheld. And TCU (6-3, 3-3 in the Big 12) secured a victory Saturday.

It was a stunning turn of events for most of the 52,322 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium. Tavon Austin seemingly had given West Virginia the win with a 76-yard score on a punt return with 3:19 left in regulation.

TCU's game-tying drive started with a 9-yard loss on a sack of Boykin, putting the Frogs in a second-and-19 hole at their own 6. Before Boyce even caught his game-tying pass, he was knocked out of bounds. But he kept running downfield, and Boykin found him.

"I thought about cutting across the field, but I just ran," said Boyce, who had a career-high 180 yards receiving on six catches. "I just wanted to make a play for my team. Coach gave me an opportunity, so I just made a play."

He wasn't the only one making plays in the frantic final moments of regulation and two overtimes.

After West Virginia took a 38-31 lead in the second overtime on Geno Smith's 25-yard pass to Stedman Bailey, TCU's offense had to score.

On first down from the 25, wide receiver Brandon Carter took a handoff on a reverse and hit tight end Corey Fuller, who ran into the end zone for a touchdown. It was the first college career pass for Carter, who played some quarterback at Euless Trinity, and Fuller's first career touchdown. Fuller had three receptions for 36 yards before the play.

TCU appeared ready to attempt the game-tying point-after kick but called timeout and decided to go for the win.

"You've got to take games," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "I asked [the offensive coaches], 'Do you have a good play?' They said they have two good plays. I said, 'Let's go then.' We were in a position to win it, and that's what we did. I took my headset off, and it's either going to be a win or a loss."

Boyce made it a win with a nice grab on a low pass by Boykin in the end zone. It was the same type of play Boyce made on a 2-point conversion last year to beat Boise State.

"It was the same exact play," Boyce said. "In these environments, you've got to take it, and that's what we did. Casey [Pachall] threw it high, Tre threw it low."

In the first overtime, cornerback Jason Verrett, who had already played an excellent game, came up with perhaps the biggest play of the day on WVU's 36-yard field goal attempt to win the game. Verrett's block from the right side forced the second overtime and was a reprieve after TCU kicker Jaden Oberkrom missed a 37-yard field goal attempt on the first overtime possession.

"On that play I was just lined up, trying to do my job," Verrett said. "I got all of it. My whole left hand."

Boykin turned in another gutsy performance after struggling last week at Oklahoma State. The redshirt freshman nearly matched Heisman Trophy candidate Geno Smith with 254 yards on 12 of 29 passing and two touchdowns. Smith was held in check with 260 yards on 32 of 54 passing. Both quarterbacks threw an interception.

Verrett's interception in the second quarter set up Boyce's 31-yard touchdown catch that gave TCU a 14-7 lead. But the Mountaineers (5-3, 2-3) scored the next 17 points to take a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter. Dominic Merka's 15-yard fumble return on a muffed West Virginia punt attempt pulled TCU to within 24-21. Oberkrom's 26-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter tied it at 24, where it stayed until the fireworks began with Austin's punt return.

"We wanted to get bowl eligible, and we got bowl eligible," Patterson said. "That was our first goal, and now we're going to try to win seven games."

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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