Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU special teams come up big in 24-21 win at TCU

FORT WORTH, Tx. – By the time Garrett Greene kneeled to end the game, West Virginia University head football coach Neal Brown was ready to get on the first thing smoking out of Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday night.

WVU (4-1, 2-0) blocked a pair of fourth-quarter TCU field goal attempts to earn a 24-21 comeback win over the Horned Frogs (3-2, 1-1).

“I’m drained,” Brown said after the game. “This was a fight. We are a team built for ugly football, and I felt during the spring and summer that we had a team that could win a lot of close football games.”

The Mountaineers (4-1, 2-0) and Brown, in his fifth year at WVU, won their third straight game in Fort Worth. Brown’s record in Fort Worth is 3-0, and he improved to 26-26 overall as a head coach.

Defensive lineman Sean Martin blocked a 55-yard would-be game-tying field goal with 32 seconds left to secure the win.

“They took my sack away, and I was pretty mad,” Martin said, referencing a sack that was overturned to an incomplete pass the play earlier. “We cooled down at halftime, and Coach Brown told us we made some mistakes and missed some opportunities.”

WVU has won four consecutive games and is off to its best start since 2018 – the final season of the Dana Holgersen Era. Ironically, the Mountaineers will have a bye week and then visit Holgersen’s Houston Cougars (2-3) on Thursday, October 12. This will be the Mountaineers’ first matchup against their former head coach.

While the special teams were stellar on Saturday, it came at a cost. WVU junior safety Aubrey Banks was carted off the field and hospitalized with what appeared to be a serious injury. Burks stayed in Forth Worth overnight under observation It recalled a similarly frightening injury to last September when C.J. Donaldson was hospitalized during a loss at Texas, in Austin.

In the second half, WVU redshirt freshman linebacker Trey Lathan was carted off the field after a leg injury. He, too, was taken to a local hospital and remained there overnight. The team announced Lathan underwent lower leg surgery.

West Virginia experienced a third-quarter setback against the Horned Frogs, who reached the National Championship Game last season. A would-be 24-yard-touchdown pass from junior quarterback Garrett Greene to freshman receiver Hudson Clement was called back due to a holding penalty with 25 seconds in the third quarter.

WVU tried to bounce back, but TCU stuffed the Mountaineers at the goal line.

Redshirt junior kicker Michael Hayes converted the game-winning 49-yard field goal with 9:31 left in the game. It was a personal best for Hayes, and it tied him for 10th all-time, along with five former Mountaineer Kickers.

He attempted a 58-yard field goal at the end of the first half that would have been a WVU field goal record, had it been successful.

A high-flying first half of football turned into a second-half defensive battle.

TCU jumped out to a 7-0 lead when quarterback Chandler Morris connected with Oklahoma State transfer J.P. Richardson on a 59-yard touchdown pass with 12:15 in the first quarter.

The Mountaineers responded when Greene tied the game at 7-7 on the first of his two rushing touchdowns. Greene returned to the lineup from injury for the first time since WVU’s 17-6 win vs. Pitt. Saturday’s touchdowns were Greene’s sixth of the season and the first of the season on the ground.

He had 12 carries for a game-high 80 yards and two scores, along with 10 of 21 passing for 142 passing yards.

TCU went ahead 14-7 when Morris scampered for a 31-score with 14:51 in the first half.

Aside from Greene, Donaldson led the Mountaineers’ rushing attack with 22 carries for 61 yards and a 1-yard touchdown – his fourth of the season – tied the game at 14 with 1:50 left in the half.

TCU responded quickly with Morris’ third and final touchdown of the game, to Dylan Wright, with just 24 seconds left in the half for a 21-14 Frogs lead.

Greene’s touchdown tied the game with 4:54 in the third quarter, and Hayes’ field goal put them ahead 24-21. This is the second game this season that the Mountaineers have shut out an opponent in the second half. The first time happened on September 16 in the Pitt win.

Morris passed for 298 yards, but the Mountaineer defense collapsed the pocket on him late in the fourth quarter – moving the Frogs further out of field goal range.

TCU outgained WVU, 433-343 overall, but the Mountaineers won the battle on the ground, outrushing the Frogs, 201-135.


The Mountaineers have rushed for 14 touchdowns this season. This was their second game this season without a passing touchdown and the first since the season-opening loss at Penn State.

Donaldson now has 359 rushing yards on the season.


WVU redshirt freshman Hudson Clement had three catches for 43 yards, leading six WVU receivers on Saturday. The Martinsburg native now has 10 catches for 239 yards on the season.


The West Virginia Defense finished with three sacks of Morris. Lee Kpogba, the team’s leading tackler, led with a game-high 11 tackles. He now has 40 on the season.

Beanie Bishop Jr. had nine tackles to increase his season total to 30.

Hershey McLaurin, who had seven tackles, was tested for a concussion postgame.


Brown is 8-16 in road games over four seasons, but 3-0 in Fort Worth. In each of those wins, WVU won by 12 or fewer points – 20-17 in 2019 and 29-17 in 2021. WVU leads the all-time series, 8-5, including 4-2 in Fort Worth.