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The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

Too high a mountain: TCU football commits three turnovers, falls to two-win West Virginia

TCU School of Journalism

In 2019, TCU needed a win at home in their regular season closer to get to the six-win mark and earn bowl eligibility. All that stood in their way was a 4-7 West Virginia team.

The Mountaineers embarrassed the Frogs that night, winning the game 20-17 to keep TCU out of the postseason for the first time since 2013.

Two years later, despite TCU’s struggles in the first half of 2021, it was almost unthinkable for them to perform worse against a 2-4 West Virginia squad then they did in that 2019 game.

Well, the unthinkable happened on Saturday night in Amon G. Carter Stadium, as the Frogs fell to the Mountaineers 29-17 to record TCU’s fourth-straight loss to West Virginia.

“Win games you’re supposed to,” head coach Gary Patterson said of where TCU failed. “Can’t win games scoring ten points, not in this league. We gave up 150 more yards than we should’ve defensively.”

Despite entering the game averaging just 377.7 yards of offense per game (7th in the Big 12), West Virginia put up 487 yards on TCU, with their passing (258 yards) and rushing (229 yards) attacks being equally as effective.

The real difference maker in the game was turnovers, as the Frogs turned the ball over three times. All of the turnovers came in the second half, which aided in TCU going scoreless in the final two quarters.

Two of the turnovers came on interceptions by quarterback Max Duggan. Ironically, the last time Duggan had a multi-interception game was that tragic loss to the Mountaineers in 2019.

Down 12, TCU got possession with 5:39 left to play and a slim glimmer of hope, but wide receiver Quentin Johnston fumbled after catching a 29-yard pass from Duggan that would have put the Frogs in enemy territory.

After going off for 185 yards and three scores last week against Oklahoma, Johnston looked uncharacteristically rattled in the second half, dropping a deep bomb from Duggan that was right in his bread basket in the third quarter before his late game fumble.

Though West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege was an efficient 21-for-28 with 257 yards, it was running back Leddie Brown who did the most damage to the TCU defense.

Brown pounded his way to 111 yards and three scores on 24 carries. Following Johnston’s fumble, the Mountaineers ran their starting back three-straight times for 32 yards to help run the clock out and end any chance TCU had at a comeback.

“They’ve got some pretty good running backs, Leddie Brown is a pretty physical, hard runner,” linebacker Dee Winters said. “I feel like if we would’ve made the first contact tackle and not let him gain yards after, I feel that would’ve stopped a lot of the rushing yards they had.”

Quite literally seconds into the game, it looked like TCU was going to run away with it. Wide receiver Derius Davis returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score to put the Frogs up at the 14:46 mark in the first quarter.

With their home fans on their feet and yelling loud, TCU then blew up the West Virginia kickoff return to force them to start their opening drive at their own 10-yard line.

That would be peak that the Frogs saw for the rest of the game, though. The Mountaineers would then go on to use 10 big plays (six alone coming on the ground) to go on a 29-10 run for the rest of the game.

TCU would a touchdown on a pass from Duggan to receiver Taye Barber midway through the second quarter to go up 14-13, but Brown answered with his second score of the day minutes later to put West Virginia back on top.

Inexplicably, the Frogs settled for a field goal on 4th-and-2 from the Mountaineers’ two-yard line to end the second half, and they would not score again for the rest of the game.

“We knew they were going to get the ball and we didn’t want to not score and then it be two scores and then they get the ball,” Patterson said in explanation. “So, we kicked the field goal. It’s pretty easy. We had a good play and the formation we wanted and they called a timeout.”

TCU, once again, had possessions with chances to take the lead late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter, but telegraphed passes by Duggan resulted in his first interceptions in five games.

The junior finished the day 16-for-26 with 244 yards, a score, and the two interceptions. In his first game back from injury, star running back Zach Evans had just 62 yards on 18 carries (3.4 yards per attempt).

Despite the mistakes, Johnston had topped the 100-yard mark for the second-straight game, finishing with five catches for 113 yards.

Needing any sign of life they can get, TCU will head back on the road next weekend to try and pass Kansas State in the conference standings. The Frogs face the Wildcats in Manhattan on Sat., Oct. 30, at 2:30 p.m.

“I feel like that’s a little something to motivate us a team,” Winters said. “Nobody likes losing, so if we use that as motivation to come out and play harder, play fast, we should be all right.”

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