By Bill Nestor
The West Virginia University football team just can’t lose for winning. The Mountaineers have spent the last four seasons in a hard luck losing funk that has prevented them from winning the close contests in conference play. That has been forgiven and forgotten as this year’s edition has proved that the bad old days have been replaced with hard fought narrow victories and good times for Mountaineer Nation. The only thing better than watching a good game is when your team finds a way to win in the process and that is what WVU accomplished in the 24-21 come from behind win over Texas Christian University last Saturday.
The Mountaineers are on a roll that started with a triumph over Duquesne back in early September. Critics said that beating up on the Dukes was one thing, but beating Big 12 opponents would not be as easy. It hasn’t been easy (case in point was shown when Head Coach Neal Brown proclaimed that he was “drained” following the Horned Frogs lock-up) but this group has managed to find a way to get the job done.
Pick on someone your own size – how about someone bigger? TCU was a two touchdown favorite and that is what West Virginia’s defense allowed after spotting the hosts an opening drive score. The Horned Frogs had the 11th ranked offense in the country, but they were held to just one yard of offense in the third quarter. Brown’s defense blanked TCU in the second half and blocked not one, but a pair of fourth quarter field goal attempts to preserve the win.
Quarterback Garrett Greene returned from injury to lead the offensive attack. Greene was 10 of 21 for 142 yards, but he did most of his damage with his legs. He ran for a game high 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns. C. J. Donaldson had the other WVU touchdown and picked up 61 yards on 22 attempts.
The win streak has grown to four and the last time the Eers had a streak of this size was 2018 when Dana Holgerson was in charge. Ironically, Holgerson and his Houston Cougars would give Brown and his bunch a fourth consecutive conference victory, that started a year ago with a win over Oklahoma State. WVU has some extra incentive as Holgerson left Morgantown in dramatic fashion. He hasn’t been forgiven or forgotten and this matchup is personal for Mountaineer fans.
Brown has added time for this battle as the tilt won’t take place until next Thursday. Time heals all wounds, and hopefully some of the injured players will be able to heal up and play. This will be an “all hands on deck” battle. Holgerson is desperate and his seat has gotten hotter as this season has gone with a two and three record. He is coaching for his job, which would make this an even sweeter win for WVU fans. Add in the fact that it is a Thursday night affair that will have the attention of fans around the country and the importance becomes manifold.
Speaking of seats, Brown’s is cooling down by the win. Every victory decreases the weight on his shoulders. Brown isn’t going to relax because he knows a letdown would erase all that his team has worked to achieve. He can take a moment to enjoy this latest win and recharge his batteries before battling Houston. Brown deserves the break.