FORT WORTH, Texas – A string of narrow losses -- five by seven points or fewer -- has left TCU outside of the bowl picture entering its regular-season finale against visiting West Virginia on Friday afternoon. The Golden Frogs can still advance to a bowl for the 17th time in 19 seasons under coach Gary Patterson by beating the Mountaineers in a Big 12 Conference matchup.
TV: 4:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: TCU -13.5
TCU, which will attempt to avenge last year's 47-10 mauling at West Virginia, suffered its third loss in four games with a 28-24 setback at No. 7 Oklahoma -- a defeat that came two weeks after falling to Baylor in triple overtime. “I’m trying to beat West Virginia to be honest with you,” Patterson said after the latest setback. “We’re just a small fraction away from being the team that we want to be.” The Mountaineers also are coming off a narrow defeat, losing for the sixth time in seven games with a 20-13 setback to Oklahoma State that snuffed out their bowl hopes. "We're gong to have a tremendous challenge when we play Friday in Fort Worth," first-year West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. "This has been a football team that has steadily gotten better. We've had multiple chances to win in the league in every game except one."
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (4-7, 2-6 Big 12)
An ongoing issue for the Mountaineers has been a woeful ground game that is one of the worst in the nation, ranking 129th at 72.1 yards per game, and managed a paltry 26 yards Saturday. Quarterback Jarret Doege, a transfer from Bowling Green who was expected to redshirt this season, has thrown for five touchdowns and zero interceptions in three appearances and is coming off a 308-yard performance as he prepares to make this third start. Sam James is the No. 1 wideout with 66 receptions for 663 yards but George Campbell has found the end zone seven times on just 19 catches.
ABOUT TCU (5-6, 3-5)
Freshman Max Duggan completed a season-worst 33.3 percent of his passes and tossed his eighth interception in five games last week, but he ran for 92 yards on 12 carries and has a rushing touchdown in five of the last six contests. Running backs Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua, who were limited to 26 yards on 10 carries last week, have combined for 1,299 yards and 13 touchdowns for a ground attack that ranks 29th nationally with 208.6 yards per game but was held to minus-7 yards in last year’s loss at West Virginia. The Horned Frogs feature the Big 12′s No. 2-ranked defense at 345.4 yards allowed per game.
1. TCU LB Garret Wallow has a team-leading 113 tackles, including 15 for losses.
2. West Virginia ranks tied for 24th nationally with 31.0 sacks.
3. TCU is 89-23 at home under Patterson.
PREDICTION: TCU 30, West Virginia 20