WVU football notebook: TCU pulled off surprises
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With West Virginia leading, 38-37, in double overtime, TCU coach Gary Patterson bypassed the extra point and went for the two-point conversion and the win.
All the Mountaineers needed was a stop.
WVU lost, 39-38, when quarterback Trevone Boykin rolled out and completed a low pass to receiver Josh Boyce in the end zone.
“From the field, I thought he caught it,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “(Replay officials) looked at it. So I guess he did.”
It was a bad sequence for the defense, which played one of its best games of the season.
Prior to the conversion, TCU surprised the Mountaineers with a trick play: Receiver Brandon Carter tossed a 25-yard touchdown to Corey Fuller — immediately after WVU's Geno Smith threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey.
“It's a trick play. They tricked us,” co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. “It's like magic. We've got to do a better job of reading our keys.”
Improved pass rush
Nose tackle Shaq Rowell said he could tell the pass rush was bothering Boykin.
“A lot of hits. We must have hit him 40 times,” Rowell said. “I heard him crying. I didn't think he would finish.”
WVU recorded three sacks — 1½ each by linebackers Shaq Petteway and Josh Francis — and had Boykin on the run all game.
“We put the most pressure on a quarterback you saw all year,” Rowell said.
Freshman safety Karl Joseph had the second-most tackles (nine, eight solo) against TCU, equaling a career high. Joseph entered the game second on the team in tackles.
On a struggling defense searching for leaders, Joseph has emerged in surprising fashion.
“It's kind of odd, but he does (lead) just by the way he plays,” said Keith Patterson, WVU's other defensive coordinator. “He instills confidence. Not only in himself but in others around him.”
Bailey's touchdown catch in the second overtime was his 15th of the season and 31st of his career. Bailey has scored a touchdown in all but two games this season. ... Tyler Bitancurt has 316 career points and improved to No. 3 on the school's career scoring list for kickers. His 52-yard field goal against TCU was a career long.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.