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Mountaineers thump TCU to stay perfect at home

Gold and Blue Nation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the Mountaineers in 2020, home isn’t just where the heart is — it’s where the wins are. 

WVU stayed perfect at home by beating TCU 24-6 Saturday in front of 11,111 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium, remaining the only team in the Big 12 that possesses an unbeaten home record. 

The win for West Virginia (5-3, 4-3) caps a stretch of five games in consecutive weeks. WVU went 3-2 during that span, guaranteeing it will finish the campaign with at least five victories for the seventh season in a row. 

“I thought what we put on tape today was West Virginia football,” head coach Neal Brown said. “I thought individually and collectively, I thought our guys laid it on the line.”

The Mountaineers set the tone for this game with two efficient first half drives that ended in touchdowns. West Virginia’s opening possession began on the fringe of its own end zone, but 15 plays and 99 yards later, quarterback Jarret Doege opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run to give WVU a 7-0 advantage. 

TCU responded with a field goal on the ensuing possession, but then the Mountaineers rattled off a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by a 26-yard pass from Doege to T.J. Simmons. The touchdown catch by Simmons was his first since Oct. 19, 2019 when he logged two scores at Oklahoma. 

Simmons scored again early in the fourth quarter on a play that sealed the outcome. Two plays after Sean Mahone recovered a TCU fumble on a punt, Doege hit Simmons for his second touchdown of the day to extend West Virginia’s lead to 24-6 with 12:01 remaining. 

Simmons logged four catches for a game-high 90 receiving yards.

The Mountaineers had one more takeaway up their sleeves. On TCU’s final drive, defensive back Tykee Smith intercepted a Max Duggan pass near the goal line, his second interception of the season. 

West Virginia kept Duggan in check throughout the game. The fourth-leading rusher in the Big 12 netted just 19 yards on the ground and completed just 55 percent of his passes for 161 yards. 

Doege was the far more efficient signal caller in this contest, completing 73 percent of his throws for 212 yards and three total touchdowns, though his streak of four games with over 300 yards passing came to an end. 

“He had his best week of practice this week,” Brown said. “His passing numbers don’t show it just because we kind of took the air out of the ball in the second half, but he was really efficient today. Never put the ball in jeopardy. We left a couple plays out there, probably, but really proud of how he’s playing, how he’s managing the football game.”

WVU running back Leddie Brown also rushed for 156 yards, marking his fifth 100-yard game this season. Brown was effective even though he was a question mark before the game due to injury.

“He’s not 100 percent, but he was good enough,” Neal Brown said. “I think if he was 100 percent, maybe a couple of those balls that bounced, I think maybe he takes it to the house.” 

On defense, linebacker Tony Fields logged a game-high 14 tackles, while Exree Loe added 12. Both linebackers played critical roles in limiting the Horned Frogs with regular starter Josh Chandler-Semedo sidelined with an injury. 

The Mountaineers also held an opponent to six points or fewer for the first time since a 35-6 victory over K-State on Sept. 22, 2018

The victory also bucked at least one trend for West Virginia: it earned a win despite allowing its opponent to rush for more than 100 yards. The Mountaineers also remain unbeaten this season when they reach the century mark on the ground. 

WVU will enter an open week before returning to action Nov. 28 at home against Oklahoma. 

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