Mac Engel

TCU’s ugly win over West Virginia caps all-time day

TCU cornerback Ranthony Texada wraps up West Virginia quarterback Will Grier in the second quarter Saturday.
TCU cornerback Ranthony Texada wraps up West Virginia quarterback Will Grier in the second quarter Saturday.

From sunup til sundown it was the perfectly, perfect ideal day for TCU, the one that anyone with a functioning memory knows do not come around too often.

Starting with the 8 a.m. kickoff of ESPN College GameDay from TCU’s Commons, to the arrival of country music star Tim McGraw as a guest picker, to Lee Corso donning the Super Frog mascot head for his 300th prediction, Saturday was an all-time day for TCU.

So perfect so there is no reason to complain about the maddening amount of empty seats for No. 8 TCU’s 31-24 win over No. 23 West Virginia.

This school and athletic department have done every single thing necessary to fill a 45,000-seat stadium, and it just doesn’t happen the way a program of this caliber merits.

Regardless of how many were not there at Amon G. Carter Stadium on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, just enjoy it. All of it.

Including a narrow, exciting, ugly win. No. 8 TCU will move up in the national rankings on Sunday afternoon, and now is all by itself at the top of the Big 12.

With No. 3 Oklahoma’s loss at home to national power Iowa State, the Big 12’s best team is TCU.

It may change in a week or two, but for the time being just enjoy all of this, including three immediate overreactions to TCU’s latest win.

1. In a game this close, there are countless players and plays to focus but this was a wonderful day for quarterback Kenny Hill.

In the morning, he was the subject of a flattering piece that aired on GameDay.

In the afternoon, he threw a touchdown pass. He also caught a touchdown pass. And on 3rd-and-3 with three minutes remaining in a tie game, he scored on a difficult touchdown run where he took a large shot.

Hill completed 15 of 28 passes for 188 yards with a touchdown. He caught one pass for 48 yards, and a touchdown. He ran the ball six times for 18 yards.

It’s the type of game that warranted a high-five from West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.

1.5 Don’t forget to give TCU special teams some love. Or, if you’re just a negative person, just kill West Virginia’s special teams.

When TCU’s offense could not score, TCU punter Adam Nunez had four of five punts in the first half downed inside the 5-yard line.

West Virginia kicker Mike Molina missed a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter. And the Mountaineers fumbled a punt return in the first half that set up TCU’s first touchdown of the game.

2. TCU’s defense was as good against West Virginia quarterback Will Grier as it was in the win against Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. The problem is both of these guys are so big, strong and talented they are going to get you eventually.

TCU led 17-3 in the third quarter before Grier threw scoring passes of 64 and 76 yards to tie the game. Grier completed 25 of 45 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw a killer interception that led to a TCU score. He was also sacked a few times.

That’s about as good as you can do against Will Grier.

2.5 From the Thank God I Don’t Gamble Department. The over/under for the game set by Vegas oddsmakers was 73 points. Didn’t quite make it. At the half, the team combined for 10 points. 

3. The last time a TCU receiver who wore No. 9 looked this good it was Josh Doctson. LSU transfer receiver John Diarse ain’t Doctson, but he wears No. 9 and a few times he made some plays that looked Doctson-ish. Diarse caught four passes for 70 yards, including one along the sidelines in the third quarter that Doctson made routine.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof