MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Unable to stomach five turnovers, Dana Holgorsen probably thought his offense couldn’t play any worse. Then it netted minus-2 yards in the fourth quarter.
That explains how the No. 20 Mountaineers lost a nine-point lead in the final eight minutes and ultimately lost the game, 31-30, to No. 10 TCU.
“I take responsibility for what happened offensively—it was bad,” he said. “It’s not acceptable. It’s not going to win football games.”
As West Virginia endured three consecutive three-and-outs to end the game, its fourth-quarter offense consisted of only nine plays. Quarterback Clint Trickett attempted only one pass during that span, an incompletion to Kevin White, and was sacked on his only other dropback of the quarter.
It was an atypical day for Trickett, who tossed two interceptions, lost a fumble on mistimed snap and threw for a season-low 162 yards. TCU’s two sacks hardly illustrated how much pressure Trickett felt.
“Clint was incredibly uncomfortable, incredibly uncomfortable,” Holgorsen said. “Their rush was good: I’ll evaluate to see if we pass protected worth a darn. He was uneasy in the pocket. He got spooked.”
At 3.6 yards per carry, the running game wasn’t able to deliver. But West Virginia would have loved that average in the fourth quarter, when it lost 2 yards on eight attempts.
“We didn’t run the ball very good,” Holgorsen said. “I thought our running backs were extremely average. When they put two high safeties and double-cover a wideout and we can’t run the ball into a favorable box, we’re going to get beat.”