The Mountaineers came up just short in their attempt of knocking off No. 22 Texas and improving to 5-2.
A missed fourth-down attempt with just over four minutes remaining gave the Longhorns their third straight victory.
WVU football now sits at 4-3 overall, with a 3-3 record in the Big 12 Conference.
Head coach Neal Brown was noticeably upset about the lack of a flag on the Mountaineers’ failed fourth down. It appeared that sophomore wide receiver Ali Jennings may have been interfered with on the play.
Since a field goal wouldn’t help much when down by four, WVU’s only decision was to go for the first down. It was positioned just outside of Texas’ five-yard line when quarterback Jarret Doege’s throw sailed just past his target.
Once again, the Mountaineers’ defense did their job limiting a strong Texas offense. The Longhorns scored at least 10 more points in every game this season.
Doege threw for over 300 yards, but it took him 35 completions and 50 attempts to do so.
The issue this week was that WVU was unable to consistently run the ball. This was the first time in a while that Leddie Brown and the rest of the backfield couldn’t get much started.
Brown rushed for just 47 yards on 15 carries, while Alec Sinkfield totaled only five rushing yards.
Thankfully for WVU backers, it was receiving +6.5 points in the point spread at West Virginia sportsbooks. Even though any moneyline wagers would have lost, it’s another win against the spread for the Mountaineers.
They are 5-2 at sportsbooks so far this year.
Bettors can put action down on them to bounce back this weekend at home against TCU. According to the online sports betting apps in the Mountain State, WVU is a slight favorite on Saturday.
WVU Mountaineers drop a close one
Again, the Mountaineers managed to convert more first downs and win the time of possession battle but still fell short.
This was certainly a difficult loss and one the team wishes they had back.
Texas scored on the opening drive of the game, but then the WVU defense stepped up. It surrendered just 288 yards the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, it couldn’t generate a big turnover to help get the offense some points. Although there were a few fumbles throughout the game, neither team actually committed a turnover.
Senior linebacker Tony Fields II led the Mountaineers in total tackles as the only player in double digits. He recorded 12 to increase his lead on the team for the entire season.
No other Mountaineer is within 15 tackles of Fields’ mark of 65.
The offense probably had one of their worst games of 2020. They were only able to score one touchdown after scoring 37 points a week ago.
While Doege didn’t have his best game going down the field, he did spread the ball around. Nine different players caught at least two passes.
Both junior Isaiah Esdale and sophomore Bryce Ford-Wheaton grabbed six balls to lead WVU. Senior T.J. Simmons led all receivers in yards with 71 on four receptions.
Even though the Mountaineers compiled some stats in this one, they just couldn’t execute when they needed to the most.
In their last two drives of the game, they failed to get one yard each time and turned the ball over on downs.
They were at Texas’ 16 with about 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Then, the Mountaineers didn’t get the first again from the Longhorns’ eight-yard line with around five minutes remaining.
On both occasions, WVU chose to pass the ball when it needed just a single yard.
WVU football and TCU betting preview
The Mountaineers have the opportunity to show their resiliency this week in front of some home fans in Morgantown. They host the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday at noon.
TCU enters this matchup with an identical 3-3 record within the conference. It won its last two, taking down Baylor and Texas Tech.
The Horned Frogs also defeated Texas earlier in the season.
Their three losses have come at the hands of Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma.
TCU is led offensively by sophomore quarterback Max Duggan. He’s thrown for over 1,100 yards while hitting more than 65% of his passes.
The dual-threat QB is also TCU’s top rusher.
Duggan has 329 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 80 carries so far this year.
The Horned Frogs feature several other players who can have an impact on the ground game. Freshmen running backs Darwin Barlow, Kendre Miller, and Zach Evans each average at least 5.3 yards per rush.
Junior receiver Taye Barber is TCU’s biggest threat on the outside. He leads the team in receptions, yards and receiving scores.
On the defensive side, senior linebacker Garret Wallow and sophomore defensive end Ochaun Mathis are the two to keep your eye on. The WVU offense will need to limit both players from causing too much havoc on Saturday.
Wallow is the team leader in tackles with 46 and forced fumbles with two, while Mathis has posted four sacks in TCU’s six games.
In order to get back in the win column, WVU needs to commit to the running game early and often. Despite Brown not having his best performance last week, 15 rushes aren’t enough for one of your best players.
ESPN’s Football Power Index sees this contest as another tight one. It is giving the Mountaineers about a 53% chance of coming out with a victory.
College football betting odds at WV sportsbooks
Bettors located in the state can wager on the Mountaineers, along with any other college football game, through one of the available online platforms.
As expected, the point spread for this week’s game is extremely narrow. According to DraftKings, here are the current odds for WVU’s game with TCU:
- WVU -3
- Moneyline: -143
- TCU +3
- Moneyline: +118
- Over 45.5 (-107)
- Under 45.5 (-113)