No. 7 TCU, used to comeback wins, meets West Virginia

When West Virginia clashes with No. 7 TCU on Saturday at Morgantown W.Va., getting off to a fast start should be among the Mountaineers’ top priorities.

But West Virginia also needs to be especially aware of one thing: No lead is safe against TCU.

The Horned Frogs (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) have a knack for overcoming what seem like insurmountable deficits. They dug out of a 17-point hole against then-No. 8 Oklahoma State to win 43-40 in double overtime on Oct. 15, and rallied to win 38-28 after trailing 28-10 in the second quarter last Saturday against then-No. 17 Kansas State.

Quarterback Max Duggan ignited the surge by throwing two of his three touchdown passes, while running back Kendre Miller added a pair of second-half scores on the ground as TCU scored 28 unanswered points.

It marked just the second time since 1996 that a team had come back from deficits of at least 17 points in back-to-back games against Top 25 opponents. Tennessee also accomplished the feat in 2016.

However, the Horned Frogs might be better suited to grabbing an early lead — and maintaining it — so they aren’t forced to put together a late-game masterpiece.

And with Duggan under center, they’re in a great position to do that Saturday.

Duggan has been one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12, throwing the most TD passes (19) and recording the second-most yards through the air (1,871). Now he faces a Mountaineers defense that has allowed an average of 275.7 passing yards per game.

For West Virginia, the inability to limit the passing game proved to be costly in last weekend’s 48-10 loss to Texas Tech. The Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3) let Red Raiders quarterback Behren Morton throw for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

West Virginia quarterback JT Daniels couldn’t match Morton’s success and ended up completing 23 of 36 passes for 194 yards, one TD and three interceptions. The Mountaineers couldn’t get the ground game going, either, carrying the ball 26 times for just 73 yards.

With the loss, West Virginia fell to 1-3 on the road. It has fared much better at home this season, and TCU coach Sonny Dykes knows it won’t be easy to strut into Morgantown and steal a win.

“I know it’s a great home crowd. I know this’ll be a hungry West Virginia team. I watched the Baylor game a couple weeks ago and they looked really good, played really good in that game, and you could tell it was an electric atmosphere,” Dykes said. “Their guys really responded well to the crowd.

“I know our guys are just … looking forward to playing another game and excited about the opportunity.”

The Mountaineers will need to lean on that home crowd if they want to put together a bounce-back performance against the last unbeaten team in the conference.

“Failure is temporary unless you accept it, and I refuse to accept it, and nobody that’s coaching here is going to allow that to be who we are,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “We got a great opportunity this week.

“Got the No. 1 team in the Big 12 coming in, No. 7 in the country, they’re undefeated. Really impressive team.”

Although the Horned Frogs have been dominant this season, they’ve struggled recently in the all-time series with West Virginia, dropping the past four meetings.

–Field Level Media