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Hill Scores Three Ways as No. 8 TCU Beats No. 23 West Virginia

FORT WORTH, TEXAS—Kenny Hill avoided a defender in the backfield and lunged forward through two more for a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:53 left and No. 8 TCU remained the Big 12’s only undefeated team with a 31-24 victory over No. 23 West Virginia on Saturday.

“This team and the coaches trust me with the ball down there. That means a lot,” Hill said. “It gives you a lot of confidence.”

Hill also threw a 45-yard touchdown pass and was on the receiving end of a 48-yard score for the Frogs (5-0, 2-0). His winning TD run came only five plays after an apparent interception was reversed on a replay review.

“I would bet that every game’s going to be like this,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “We want to win a championship. If you’re going to win a championship, as a general rule … you win about three or four of them that are ugly. You got to win the ugly ones sometimes.”

Will Grier threw for 366 yards and three TDs for West Virginia (3-2, 1-1), including two long catch-and-run scores in a span of about 2 1/2 minutes late in the third quarter. It was tied at 24 after Grier hooked up with David Sills V on a 64-yard scoring play and then Ka’Raun White for a 76-yarder.

TCU led 7-3 at halftime in the only game Saturday matching Top 25 teams, and after third-ranked and two-time defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1) was upset at home by Iowa State.

“It was a close game. Everything that happened in the first half, throw it away,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said, when asked his halftime message to his team. “If we outplay them in the second half, we’re probably going to win the game — and we didn’t.”

After those two long West Virginia TDs, the Frogs used a little trickery to go ahead again. KaVontae Turpin took a handoff and swept to the right before stopping and throwing back to Hill, who sprinted down the left sideline for the score.

West Virginia got even at 31 on Sills’ 4-yard TD catch with 9:50 left, a nice reaching grab in the back of the end zone . He had seven catches for 116 yards and now has nine TD catches this season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

There could be a chance for TCU to move up at least a spot or two, especially after Oklahoma’s losing at home two weeks after having to hold on to win its Big 12 opener 48-41 at winless Baylor the previous game. Even if the Mountaineers slip out of the new poll, they are a Top 25-worthy team. Both losses are 31-24, to TCU and No. 16 West Virginia.

THE TAKEAWAY

West Virginia: With the feisty Grier, Sills and Big 12 leading rusher Justin Crawford (111 yards rushing), the Mountaineers aren’t backing down from anyone. Remember, the top two teams will get into the league’s championship game, and there’s still a long way to go in the season. They can move the ball, with 508 total yards against the defensive Frogs.

TCU: Hill had his struggles at times, especially before halftime, but again managed to make the plays the Frogs needed to win. John Diarse made some key catches, Kyle Hicks was back with 71 yards rushing and Sewo Olonilua took a direct snap for a diving 2-yard TD. Unranked to start the season, TCU is clearly becoming a favorite to contend for a Big 12 title.

UP NEXT

West Virginia: The Mountaineers play three of their next four games at home, starting next Saturday against Texas Tech.

TCU: A trip to coach Gary Patterson’s alma mater, when the Frogs play at Kansas State next Saturday.

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