Fighting back in Fort Worth: 5 plays that made a difference

West Virginia’s Charles Sims (3) celebrates a second-quarter touchdown, part of his 154-yard rushing day.


FORT WORTH, Texas — A deeper look at five plays that loomed large as West Virginia edged TCU 30-27 in overtime:

1. Charles Sims races 31 yards to launch WVU’s comeback.
Facing a 17-3 deficit in the second quarter, West Virginia was playing the knockout victim to script—at least until Sims raced over left end to cap a three-play, 87-yard drive.

Sims’ scoring burst was an easy jaunt through the left-side gap created by tight end Cody Clay blocking down on the defensive end and pulling guard Mark Glowinski locking up a linebacker.

“The end crashed down, so I followed the (pulling) guard, and the hole just came wide-open,” said Sims, who finished with 154 yards on 24 carries, both season-highs.

2. Clint Trickett’s pick-six erased by holding penalty on TCU’s Jason Verrett.
Frogs linebacker Chris Hackett picked off Trickett’s worst pass of the day and returned it 37 yards for a would-be touchdown. But a few yards away from the spot of the turnover lay a flag, where Verrett was ruled to be holding receiver Kevin White, who was not making a play on the underthrown ball.

“I thought it wasn’t catchable, but (White) kind of crossed my face and I grabbed him,” said Verrett, projected to be among the top corners chosen in the 2014 NFL draft. “That would have been a game-changer. So I take blame for that.”

The play had coaches on both sides seething. TCU’s Gary Patterson said he didn’t ” think (the flag) had anything to do with the play,” and Holgorsen was steamed at Trickett forcing the pass into coverage.

TCU’s Chris Hackett returns an interception for a touchdwon that was later negated by a defensive penalty.


3. Linebacker Isaiah Bruce strips TCU’s Trevone Boykin at the West Virginia 3.
Starting at the WVU 2-yard line after an interception, TCU looked to pad a 17-10 lead. But Bruce turned back the Frogs on first down.

Replaced in the starting lineup by safety K.J. Dillon, Bruce played limited snaps as WVU went with a nickel package in search of more perimeter athleticism against TCU’s spread attack.

On this third-quarter goal line scenario, however, TCU’s jumbo package resulted in Bruce being inserted and he promptly wrestled the ball from Boykin on the quarterback keeper. Linebacker Jared Barber recovered, costing TCU what seemed to be an easy score.

“We told (Bruce) before the game we’re going to go with the flow so just be ready,” said WVU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. “When they go multiple tight-end set, he comes in and—Bow!—causes a turnover.”


4. Cody Clay’s first career touchdown puts WVU ahead 20-17.
The tight end, previously targeted twice on third-down incompletions, got his chance on this second-and-8 play from the TCU 11.

As Trickett rolled right on the naked bootleg, Clay caught an underneath pass and barreled down the sideline, lunging over linebacker Paul Dawson to stick the ball inside the pylon.

Said the sophomore from George Washington High after he was mobbed by teammates: “They’ve been waiting for it for a while.”

West Virginia tight end Cody Clay dives for a touchdown over TCU linebacker Paul Dawson.


5. TCU offensive lineman John Woolridge flagged for late-hit in overtime.
Stuck with the opening possession in OT, the Frogs lost 6 yards on first down before Woolridge’s overexhuberance backed up TCU into a third-and-30 from the WVU 45.

That led to Jaden Oberkrom’s desperation 62-yard field-goal miss, which allowed WVU to play conservatively for the winning kick on its series.

“If people are trying to blame (Woolridge) for that costing us the game, that’s not it at all,” Pachall said. “We never should have been in that position in the first place. There were a lot of mistakes from myself and from others that caused us to have to go to overtime and let (West Virginia) come back into the game.”

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