MORGANTOWN, W.V. - Thanks to a late Will Grier touchdown pass and a gutsy two-point conversion on the ground by Grier, No. 8 West Virginia controls its own destiny to a first Big 12 championship game and still has a shot to play in the College Football Playoff. Grier will try and keep the Mountaineers focused this week after their first road win over a top-15 AP team since 2012 when they host a struggling TCU squad on Saturday.
TV: Noon ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: West Virginia -13.
Grier hit Gary Jennings Jr. on a 33-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone with 16 seconds left before converting the two-point conversion on a quarterback option as the Mountaineers decided against playing for overtime and edged out a 42-41 victory over the Longhorns. “Texas was doing a good job offensively. They had our defense on its heels a little bit, and I felt like it was the right call," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen told reporters on Monday. "I knew (Texas coach Tom Herman) was going to call timeout. I actually thought about running a dummy play but just didn't want to get caught if he didn't pull the trigger on the timeout. That specific play has a lot of options … and if you give (Grier) options to win games, he's going to make the right decision the majority of the time. I'd take my chances with him any day." TCU, which snapped a three-game losing streak by edging Kansas State 14-13 last weekend with the help of the Wildcats' missed extra point in the fourth quarter, will leave the state of Texas for just the second time this season. The Horned Frogs' 14 points were their fewest in a win since a 14-10 victory at Clemson in 2009, while their 57 yards rushing was their fewest in a win since totaling 54 in a 2012 victory at SMU.
ABOUT TCU (4-5, 2-4 Big 12)
In his second career start, sophomore Mike Collins was 17-for-33 for 218 yards and a touchdown - a 67-yard pass to Jalen Reagor. "It feels really good to get a win. October was a tough month and that wasn't the best win, but a win is a win and we will take it," Collins told reporters after the game. “It felt really good in the locker room after.” Playing without four injured defensive starters, TCU, which has held all nine opponents below their season total offense averages, held Kansas State to 301 yards of offense and 5-of-16 on third down while equaling season highs with four sacks and three takeaways.
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (7-1, 5-1)
Grier (69.7 completion percentage, 2,618 yards, 28 TDs, seven interceptions) kept his Heisman Trophy candidacy alive by completing 28-of-42 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns, earning the Maxwell Award National Offensive Player of the Week award. However, it was the running game that proved the difference, as Martell Pettaway (entered with 278 yards) ran nine times for 121 yards, including a TD on a career-best 55-yard run, and Kennedy McKoy (entered game with 366 yards) carried 17 times for 94 yards as the Mountaineers gained 232 yards on 33 attempts - their second-most rushing yards of the season. West Virginia, which closes the season at Oklahoma State and home with Oklahoma, was penalized 14 times - eight in the first quarter alone - against the Longhorns.
1. The Horned Frogs have won four of six meetings since the schools joined the Big 12 together in 2012, including a 31-24 triumph last season.
2. Three of TCU's losses this season are to teams ranked in the AP top 15: No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 15 Texas. The Horned Frogs held second-half leads against the Buckeyes and Longhorns.
3. With an earlier win over Texas Tech, the Mountaineers have posted two road wins over ranked teams in the same season for the first time since 2007.
PREDICTION: West Virginia 35, TCU 17
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