By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
Would it be fair to say that West Virginia’s football team was more lucky than good in last Saturday’s see-saw struggle with TCU in Fort Worth, Texas?
Four huge turnovers by the Mountaineers (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) certainly weighed heavily in the 30-27 overtime win against the Horned Frogs (3-6, 1-5 Big 12).
The biggest of those, obviously, was a fumble recovery as TCU was dealing into the end zone for another would-be touchdown. Linebacker Isaiah Bruce stripped the ball from TCU quarterback Casey Pachall and teammate Jared Barber fell on it.
That recovery near the end of the third quarter gave West Virginia renewed life and hope that it could battle back and win the contest.
Then, freshman placekicker Josh Lambert settled the issue with a 36-yard field goal in the first overtime period. It was his third of the afternoon and tied his collegiate career record.
Lambert told reporters, “It was the biggest of my career.” That probably was his most memorable, too.
The Mountaineers were trailing on the scoreboard by only 17-10 when the fumble came. So they proceeded to outscore TCU by 17-10 in the fourth period.
In snapping a three-game losing streak, the Mountaineers did show some improvement in all phases of play. That has to be encouraging, going into the last three games of the regular season.
While the Horned Frogs had a 30-24 edge in first downs and 454 yards to 415 in total offense, the WVU defense limited TCU to a mere 60 yards rushing in 29 attempts. That has to be its best showing against an opponent’s ground attack this year.
WVU quarterback Clint Trickett had a decent day, completing 25 of 41 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.
Running back Charles Sims, like Trickett an NCAA transfer this year, was the top WVU offensive producer. He rushed 24 times for 154 yards and one score. He also caught six passes for 96 yards.
It could be nice if he got the ball more if possible.
Third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen sounded very happy afterward. He told reporters:
“I was really proud of the way our guys did not quit. We were up 10 points in the fourth quarter and all of a sudden they came back to tie it up.
“The whole sideline could have said, ‘Here we go again,’ but they didn’t give up. They found a way to play hard and to get a win.”
The Mountaineers return home for what may shape up as a somewhat tougher test against Big 12 opponent Texas in a 7 p.m. contest at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The Longhorns are 6-2 overall, 5-0 in conference play, and are coming off a 35-13 victory against Kansas.