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West Virginia topples TCU 24-21, ends Frogs’ 10-game Big 12 regular-season win streak

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — West Virginia defensive lineman Sean Martin was among the players forced off the field on a tough night for injuries for the Mountaineers.

He was back out there at the end.

Martin and Mike Lockhart blocked field goals in the final five minutes after Michael Hayes kicked a tiebreaking 49-yarder, and West Virginia ended TCU’s 10-game Big 12 regular-season winning streak with a 24-21 victory on Saturday night.

The Mountaineers (4-1) secured their first 2-0 start in the Big 12 since 2018 by rallying from an emotional scene of teammate Aubrey Burks getting taken off on a cart after having his neck immobilized.

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Linebacker Trey Lathan also went off on a cart with a lower-leg injury, and both are staying overnight in a hospital. Lathan is having surgery, and Burks is being held for observation.

West Virginia trailed 14-7 when Burks went down in the second quarter and was behind 21-14 at halftime before scoring the only 10 points after the break and holding on with the two late blocks.

“You saw the true mental toughness,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “There’s nothing harder than seeing somebody really get hurt in this game, and being able to bounce back from that.”

Lockhart had the first block of Griffin Kell from 46 yards with 4:47 remaining, then Martin, who left the field on his after staying down after a fourth-quarter hit, did it on a 55-yard try with 32 seconds to go.

TCU (3-2, 1-1) lost a Big 12 regular-season game for the first time under second-year coach Sonny Dykes, and already has two losses after going undefeated in the regular season last year.

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The Horned Frogs lost the Big 12 championship game to Kansas State last season before making the College Football Playoff, beating Michigan in the semifinals and getting blown out by Georgia in the title game.

“We have been very slow to kind of put it together,” Dykes said. “We’ve looked good at times and flashes. We just haven’t consistently been able do anything and maintain things. It’s kind of been the same thing all year.”

West Virginia quarterback Garrett Greene had 80 yards rushing and two touchdowns, the latter tying the score at 21-all in the third quarter, while throwing for 142 yards.

Brown didn’t think Greene would play this week because of an ankle injury, but he said backup Nico Marchiol injured an ankle in practice, forcing the Mountaineers to turn back to their starter. Brown said Greene showed enough late in the week that the coach thought the junior could play.

“I didn’t think he’d he able to run as well as well as he did,” Brown said. “He’s tough, and he’s a winner. And he just found a way.”

The last three scoring drives for the Mountaineers started in TCU territory, with Hayes’ go-ahead kick coming when they picked up just 16 yards after taking over on a punt at the TCU 47.

TCU’s Chandler Morris threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yarder to JP Richardson to open the scoring, and ran for another TD in the first half but was just 9-of-19 passing for 86 yards after the break.

“We took the opening drive right down the field, and we looked really good,” Dykes said. “I don’t know how that same team can look like we looked in the third quarter. I don’t know how that’s possible.”

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HOSPITALIZED PAIR

Burks was injured at the end of the play on a botched punt return by TCU. He was part of the scramble for the loose ball after JoJo Earle muffed the punt and didn’t get up from the bottom of a pile.

Burks’ helmet was removed and his neck stabilized before he was put on a stretcher and taken from the field on a cart.

Lathan grabbed his leg immediately after he was taken off his feet by a teammate as both tried to make a tackle in the fourth quarter. Trainers were immobilizing the leg before the cart even reached Lathan.

THE TAKEAWAY

West Virginia: CJ Donaldson had the other touchdown while rushing for 61 yards as the Mountaineers finished with 201 yards rushing against the No. 16 run defense in the country. The Horned Frogs didn’t allow more than 86 in the first three weeks before SMU had 158 last week.

TCU: Dykes was still salty a week after taking an unsolicited swipe at the officials in his postgame comments over a call that didn’t matter much late in the 34-17 victory over SMU.

After West Virginia had to use a timeout for an apparent mix-up on offense in scoring range in the third quarter, Dykes was penalized during the break for arguing with referee Derek Anderson. The ball went from the TCU 2-yard line to the 1, and Greene scored on a keeper around end on the next play.

UP NEXT

West Virginia: Off next Saturday before coming back to Texas to play Houston on Thursday, Oct. 12.

TCU: At Iowa State next Saturday to start a stretch of three out of four Big 12 games on the road. There is also a week off in that stretch.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll